All stand united for national defence

ISLAMABAD: Mounting threat of US attack on Pakistani soil after Islamabad’s blunt refusal to blindly implement Washington’s orders against the Haqqanis has generated a national fervour for country’s defence, swinging Prime Minister Gilani into action.The premiere Sunday contacted leaders of all shades of opinion to take them on board and inform that he was going to call an all-party conference in the days ahead to hammer out with consensus a strategy to deal with the situation. The mainstream political parties across the national spectrum vowed to go to any extent to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, vowing to stand by the government and the army in this noble cause.

Gilani, who met President Asif Ali Zardari later the same day, also asked Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to immediately return from New York after her address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. A PM House spokesperson said the premiere Sunday spoke to the foreign minister twice and asked her to forcefully project Pakistan’s point of view on that important platform.The prime minister’s initiative of direct contacts with all the political leaders was appreciated by all political quarters who are concerned over the gravity of the situation because of the widening divergences between Pakistan and the United States.

PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, JUI-F amir Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami amir Syed Munawwar Hasan, Awami Muslim League President Sheik Rashid Ahmed, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan, PML-Q Likeminded President Salim Saifullah Khan, PPP-S Chairman Aftab Sherpao, JUP President Maulana Anas Noorani and Fata leader Munir Orakzai are among the leaders the prime minister talked to.

The prime minister told the political leaders that they would be given a briefing on the situation and then in the light of their suggestions a strategy would be framed. No date has been set, though various political leaders said the APC would be held during the next few days.
Although there have been ups and downs in the past in the relations between the two allies in war on terror, the ties plummeted to the lowest ebb when the United States alleged that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supported the Haqqani group, an accusation Pakistan strongly denies, and a number of its officials issued threats that the US could launch ground attack in Waziristan to get the Haqqanis.A session of the National Assembly has already been called for October 3 to discuss the situation arising out of the US allegations of “exporting terrorism” to Afghanistan. It is believed the APC would be held much before the NA session.

Political leaders have different assessments about the likely course the US could take in the changed situation. However, all leaders are of the view that the US has lost the battle in Afghanistan despite spending billions of dollars over the past 10 years and was now trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat.Some leaders said that they told the premier that he has taken the initiative very late. Still, they said, it was a step in the right direction.Following the contacts by PM Gilani with mainstream political parties, PTI Chairman Imran Khan contacted JI amir Syed Munawar Hasan on telephone and discussed with him the situation, suggesting him to formulate a joint strategy for participation in the APC.

PTI chief Imran Khan said that if US attacked Pakistan, the nation would stand against the US. He said that he would attend all parties’ conference as it is for the national cause.Senator Zahid Khan of ANP said that Pakistan is a sovereign state and cannot be run on the foreign dictation. He said that any foreign interference in Pakistan would not be tolerable.PML-Q Senior Vice President Sheikh Waqqas Akram said that the Core Commanders Conference in this situation was a need of the hour. He said that the nation has full confidence on his military and political leadership and would welcome every decision being made by them. He further said that the people of Pakistan stand united with Pakistan army and ISI.

He said that the international community should recognise our sacrifices in the war against terror and the US doesn’t try to blame Pakistan for its failures.When contacted, Senior MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said that every nation in the world has its own interest, which they serve with their full efforts. Sometimes situation requires some specific measures. In case of internal and external pressure, Rizvi said, “We should always serve our national interest.” To a question, he said that this is very serious situation and needs to be dealt with wisdom. The government and other forces are united for the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan. – Nation