Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Says Islamabad to act on actionable information; denies differences with president; arrives in Berlin
By Asim Yasin
ON BOARD PM SPECIAL PLANE: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has rejected reports about presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, saying Islamabad would act if the UK and the US share actionable intelligence information about his whereabouts.
“So far the US and the UK had not shared any actionable intelligence regarding the top al-Qaeda leadership,” he said while talking to newsmen on board his special plane from Islamabad to Berlin on Monday.
Replying to a question, Gilani denied difference between the presidency and the Prime Minister House. He said democracy was essential for Pakistan and if democracy was not allowed to flourish it would prove detrimental for Pakistan, and the government was making efforts to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the country.
The premier said all other pillars of the society, including the media, judiciary and the Army were strong and now it was need of hour to strengthen the democracy to attain the goals of development and progress and bail out country of the economic crisis. To another question, he said the nation would hear good news regarding resolution of the Balochistan issue, which would open vistas of progress for Pakistan.
He said resolution of the Balochistan issue was the top most priority of the government and without resolving this issue no economic progress was possible. “It is a sensitive issue and the government realises the sensitivity and gravity of the situation and efforts are being made to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” he maintained.
Later on, the prime minister arrived in Berlin to participate in the golden jubilee ceremony of the signing of world’s first Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Germany and to discuss with its leadership expanded cooperation.
Accompanied by Minister for Investment Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan and Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, Gilani has a hectic schedule during his two-day visit with a string of meetings with the German president, chancellor, foreign minister, president of parliament and minister of Economy.
He will also visit Frankfurt where he will be the key note speaker at the Fifty Years of Bilateral Investments Treaties Conference - 2009, besides meeting with senior economists, and senior government official with an aim to expand cooperation in all areas.
Agencies add: Talking to media persons before embarking on four-day visit to Germany and the UK, the prime minister said his visit aimed at strengthening bilateral and economic ties with the two significant European countries.
Responding to a statement by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown demanding Pakistan to “do more” and tracking down Osama, Gilani said, “On one hand, the world community including Britain praises Pakistan in its efforts on war on terror and appreciates its efforts in military operations while on the other side, they ask for more. If they ask to do more, it seems an out of context thing.”
He said in Afghanistan, the loss of lives of the Nato forces with the presence of Germany and UK was less in number as compared to the sacrifices Pakistan made alone in fighting war against terrorism and extremism.
“This is a blue litmus test [on Pakistan’s contribution in war on terror],” he said. To a question on Pak-India relations, Gilani said there was now a realisation by Indian side as well to improve relations with Pakistan.
He mentioned his talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Sharam el-Sheikh where the latter agreed that there was a need to make a way forward in ridding the region of much important issues including poverty, inflation and unemployment.
“We should have way forward on this. We should not make our relations hostage to one incident [Mumbai incident],” he said. The prime minister said Pakistan had been confronting frequent incidents like the Mumbai episode, however believed that the only way forward to improve ties with India was to resume composite dialogue.
He appreciated the intentions of Dr Singh who agreed to resolve all core issues including Kashmir dispute, adding that Pakistan also strong believed that friendly environment should prevail for the continuation of dialogue.
The prime minister termed the Indian Army chief’s statement regarding limited nuclear war as irresponsible and said that the conflicts between Pakistan and India could be resolved through dialogues. He said that even India was also conscious of it.