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Pakistan responds to U.S. pressure

Sept. 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM   |   Comments

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Pakistan reacted on various domestic fronts amid mounting U.S. pressure it go after the Haqqani terror network suspected of enjoying safe haven there.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani invited leaders of various political parties for a national conference to apprise them of security conditions in Pakistan, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Gilani also asked Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to forcefully present Pakistan's point of view before the U.N. General Assembly in New York in her speech Tuesday but return home immediately, APP said.

Dawn newspaper said the Gilani government is seeking to mobilize national political leadership to take a united stand in the face of U.S. pressure and allegations against Pakistan's armed forces and its main intelligence agency.

U.S. relations with Pakistan remain deeply strained since the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces deep inside Pakistan. The latest Sept. 13 attack by militants on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital of Kabul is seen by U.S. officials as the work of the Haqqani network, suspected to be using its haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan to launch such attacks across the border in Afghanistan. The network is seen as being an asset of the Pakistani military and its spy agency.

The U.S. pressure on Pakistan to go after the Haqqani network has mounted as past such efforts have not yielded results.

Pakistan has rejected the U.S. allegations as baseless.

The purpose of Gilani's meeting with other political parties was "to apprise them of the security situation in the wake of threats emanating from outside the country," the prime minister's office said.

Gilani's office quoted him as saying the meeting would send a strong message that the "nation stands united when the defense and security of the country is at stake."

The political leaders expressed their willingness to attend the meeting and endorsed Gilani's move to take them into confidence, APP reported.

Separately, Pakistan's top military commanders Sunday held an extraordinary meeting over the U.S. charges.

Dawn newspaper said the meeting reflected the seriousness of the crisis. Although the military's public affairs office did not disclose the outcome, Dawn quoted a source privy to the discussions that the commanders felt an escalation would be harmful.

During the weekend, Kayani also met with U.S. Gen. James Mattis in Islamabad to discuss the U.S. charges.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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