EU urges Pak to resist contact with Al QaedaApril 22nd, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by admin
Islamabad, April 22 (ANI): Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief of the European Union (EU) today urged the Pakistan Government to resist contact with al Qaeda, as the latter was operating outside Pakistan’s laws and Constitution.
When asked whether he supported the idea of Pakistan negotiating with al Qaeda, Solana firmly said: “The answer is no.”
Pakistans Western allies are concerned that any let-up in military pressure on militants in the semi-autonomous ethnic Pashtun tribal lands will give al Qaeda breathing space to organize fresh attacks in the West.
Pakistan’s new coalition government is keen to move away from the policies pursued by President Pervez Musharraf, which ranged from military offensives to appeasement, and resulted in mounting violence over the past year.
Musharraf has deployed close to 90,000 troops along the Pakistan-Afghan border to counter the threat from al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Pakistani troops are seen by the tribals as trespassers.
The new government wants to convince the tribals that their real enemies are the foreign militants and tribal renegades who have brought violence to their lands.
Pakistans Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “The government would want to give dialogue and reconciliation its utmost full chance.”
If this failed, other options would be brought into play, he added.
Qureshi also dismissed talk of any link between efforts to free Pakistan’s kidnapped ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin and the release of Sufi Mohammad, a cleric and leader of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (Movement for Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law), who was freed on Monday.
Azizuddin was kidnapped, along with his driver, in February in Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border. (ANI)
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