Pakistan 'not in a rush' to start new offensive against militants in tribal regions: Gilani

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Islamabad, Mar.18 (ANI): Notwithstanding the pressure from the United States, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has made it clear that his government is 'not in a rush' to launch any new offensive in the country against extremists based in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.

During an interview with the Financial Times, Gilani said holding control and reconstruction of the region claimed back by the military from militants is on top of his priorities.

"We have to hold the areas we have reclaimed first and we should not be in a rush to launch new offensives. We have to consolidate first," Gilani said in response to a question regarding the next step in the 'war on terror' in the country.

"It's up to the military and political leadership to think about how to proceed and when to go to other areas," he said, adding that one of his priorities is to work on an "exit strategy" for military forces that have flushed the extremists out of the region and regained control of large areas in Malakand and Swat and South Waziristan, which was once considered as the Taliban's stronghold.

Commenting on the upcoming strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the US, Gilani said the deliberations would help in removing the massive mistrust between the two countries.

"We are upgrading our relationship. And that relationship is the strategic dialogue which I think would be in the benefit of both countries, as we can bridge the trust deficit and work jointly on one issue - the war against terrorism and extremism," he said.

When asked if Islamabad would seek a civil nuclear agreement from the US similar to the one it signed with India, Gilani replied:

"If there is any discrimination, there would be no regional stability." (ANI)

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