"Pak won't allow foreign troops to operate on its soil"

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Islamabad, May 10 : Pakistan will not allow any foreign troops to carry out military activity inside its territory, and any military action required inside Pakistan would be undertaken only by Pakistani troops, said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

He said that the Pakistan government would follow a multi-pronged strategy in dealing with terrorism.

He was replying to a discussion on the country's foreign policy in the Senate last evening.

"Neither can we allow foreign troops to operate in Pakistan nor can it be productive," the Daily Times quoted Qureshi as saying.

Pakistan would preserve its ability to deter any sort of aggression and strive to secure economic stability, he said and added that Pakistan wanted peace and stability in the region.

About Pakistan's ties with the US, he said that Pakistan's close relations with the US were essential for the economic progress of Pakistan. Acknowledging US' financial aid, he said: "Criticism of US policies is the right of everyone, but we should also recognise the ground realities, which show that only last year the US provided aid worth 900 million dollars and Pak-US annual trade was worth 600 million dollars."

About the country's nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan's case, he said that the chapter was closed and Pakistan had extended maximum co-operation to the international community on the issue. "We took the necessary action and the international community is satisfied and appreciated it," he said.

Qureshi also said that Pakistan's strategic assets were safe and the government had introduced strong institutional measures to defend and protect nuclear assets.

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