Gilani musters political support as US ties deteriorate

September 26th, 2011 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Sep 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has convened an all-Party conference here Thursday to devise a future course of action as Islamabad’s ties with Washington deteriorated following a US accusation that Pakistan was supporting the Haqqani terror network linked to Al Qaeda.

Sources told Online new agency that representatives of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies would attend the Sep 29 all-party meeting called to discuss the tense diplomatic stand-off with the US.

The conference is expected to discuss Pakistan-US ties and the country’s security situation.

Leaders of all political parties, including those not represented in parliament, and heads of religious groups have been invited for the crucial meeting, sources said Monday.

The course of action would be developed after consultation with leaders of all political.

US military commanders have accused Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, of supporting the Haqqani network for carrying out two attacks on the US embassy in Kabul and US military base in Afghanistan’s Wadak province this month.

Pakistan has denied it.

President Asif Ali Zardari has welcomed the initiative taken by Gilani to approach political parties for the meet to evolve national consensus on security situation.

Farhatullah Babar, the president’s spokesperson, said that the president commended the prime minister for taking a very correct and timely decision in the larger interest of the country.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been strained after the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, close to Islamabad, by US commandos in a sneak attack.

The relations dipped further when the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Sep 22 accused the Pakistani government of supporting the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.

Mullen called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s ISI.

He said the ISI-supported Haqqani network was behind recent attacks in Afghanistan, including the Sep 11 truck bomb attack and the Sep 13 assault on the US embassy in Kabul.

Mullen said the Pakistani government’s link to the extremist group would undermine the already troubled US-Pakistani relationship as well as the US-led counterterrorism campaign in Afghanistan.

In a retort, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, in an interview with Al Jazeera, said for many years the Haqqani network was a “blue-eyed boy” of the CIA.

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