Sharif, Zardari seek briefings on anti-terror war

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Islamabad, Apr 1: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have decided to get a comprehensive briefing from the Army and other operatives on the ongoing war against terrorism.

''A decision on how to deal with the rising US pressure will be taken after these briefings,'' The News reported. They took the decision after they were visited by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher. Both the top US diplomats asked the ruling coalition to come up soon with a clear policy on the war against terrorism and the new government's strategy on cooperation with the US.

The new government may soon call institutions dealing with national security for a briefing.

Top Army generals will be asked to give their own independent assessments of the war against terrorism, sources said.

Their objective views and proposals would be invited on what should be done in the days to come and whether possibilities exist to bring about tactical changes to avoid bloodshed in the tribal areas.

During their half-an-hour meeting on Sunday, more than 80 per cent time was consumed on discussing the war on terror.

A senior PPP leader said before taking any final decision about Pakistan's future role in the war against terrorism, there would be an open debate in both the Houses of Parliament and the new policy would be formulated on its basis.

A senior PML-N leader, who attended the meeting, said taking top military brass on board while formulating the new strategy did not mean that the final decision would not be taken by Parliament.

It is an admission of the fact that without consulting those who are involved on the ground, no sustainable policy could be formed.

Parliament has become sovereign now and no decision could be taken against its will. The Army commanders will be consulted, input will be taken from an open debate in Parliament and then the final strategy will be formulated in the Cabinet and at the forum of coalition leadership, the PML-N leader added.


UNI

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