Rezaul H Laskar
Islamabad, Jan 13 (PTI) Pakistan today said it wouldnot accept any foreign pressure for launching a militaryoperation against militants in North Waziristan tribal region,described as a safe haven for al-Qaeda elements.
"The US knows full well our position, our viewpointon full-scale operations in North Waziristan, and we will moveahead at a time of our own choosing," Foreign Office spokesmanAbdul Basit told a weekly briefing.
Basit was responding to a question on renewedpressure from the US to launch a crackdown on al-Qaeda andTaliban elements in the lawless tribal region.
US Vice-President Joe Biden said during his visit toIslamabad yesterday that al-Qaeda leaders are holed up in thetribal belt while American military chief Admiral Mike Mullenhas called for speedy military action in North Waziristan.
Noting that Washington and Islamabad are allies inthe campaign against terrorism, Basit said: "The USunderstands our position very well on full-scale operations inNorth Waziristan. We are moving ahead methodically and firmlykeeping in view our strategic objectives and tactical gains.
We would not like to have any disconnect between thetwo lest the successes we have achieved so far unravel," hesaid, referring to anti-militancy operations conducted inother parts of the country like the Swat valley and SouthWaziristan tribal region.
Groups like the Haqqani network, which target alliedforces across the border in Afghanistan, are holed up in NorthWaziristan.
Analysts believe the Pakistan Army is reluctant to actbecause it has close links to the Haqqani network and wants touse such groups to influence developments in Afghanistan afterUS troops pull out.
Basit said Biden''s day-long visit provided a "usefulopportunity" for both countries to discuss a range ofbilateral and regional issues as well as issues related to thewar on terrorism.
He said Pakistan will "not allow any great game to beplayed out" in Afghanistan, which has been a "victim of powerplay for decades for global and regional interests."
"This, in our view, should come to an end. The peopleof Afghanistan have suffered heavily and so has Pakistan.
There is no room for a new great game pertaining toAfghanistan, and being the immediate neighbour, we understandits implications and consequences not only for Afghanistan andPakistan but for the entire region," he said.
Pakistan wants peace and tranquility in the regionand is "firmly committed to the sovereignty and territorialintegrity of Afghanistan," he said.
Pakistan also has "no ambition to determine thepolitical dispensation in Afghanistan," he added.
"It is necessary that all regional countriesre-commit themselves to non-interference and non-intervention(in Afghanistan)," Basit said.