N.Waziristan offensive decision to be based on Pak's need, not US dictates: Gilani

Islamabad, Oct 15 (ANI): Rejecting US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen's assertion that his Pakistani counterpart, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had assured him of launching an offensive in "the epicenter of terrorism," North Waziristan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has stated that a decision about such an operation would depend on the nation's needs and not on external dictation.

"The government is committed to taking action wherever any terrorist threat exists, but before taking any such decision it will consult the political leadership as it had done before launching operations in Swat and South Waziristan," the Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying.

The premier, on his way back to the capital from Karachi after seeing off Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, disclosed that he had consulted parliament and the political leadership before deciding to launch the operation and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) had extensively briefed them.

"Although General Kayani still has that permission, it will be better if the political leadership is consulted once again before taking a fresh initiative," he added.

In reply to a query, Gilani said that there was no external pressure for the extension of service recently given to the army chief, adding, "Even the COAS had to be persuaded to accept the extension."

When asked why the United States was pressurising Pakistan to knock down the Haqqani network and at the same time supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai's move to hold talks with the group, he replied, "I believe that Karzai's talks roadmap is not clear yet. He had promised during his recent visit to Islamabad to share it with us."

Talking about his meeting with the Turkish counterpart, Gilani said that he was determined to support Pakistan in rehabilitating the flood-affected people and expanding cooperation in all fields of nation building.

Earlier this week, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff had disclosed that Kayani had given assurances that he would mount an offensive the US had long called for in the North Waziristan region along the Afghan border.

"He's committed to me to go into North Waziristan and to root out these terrorists as well," 64-year-old Mullen had said in an interview with the media. (ANI)

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