Pakistan warns of ‘matching response’ if country’s nuclear assets attacked
PM gives ‘clean chit’ to ISI
* Gilani says allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd
* Unilateralism runs inherent risk of serious consequences
* Investigation into matter has been ordered which will be conducted by Adjutant General of Pakistan Army Lt Gen Javed Iqbal
* Army will give in-camera briefing to joint session of parliament on May 13
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday dispelled the allegations of complicity and incompetence on the country’s security agencies, saying the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) prosecuted the anti-terror strategy with a high degree of professionalism and superb determination.
“Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd. We emphatically reject such accusations,” said the prime minister in an address to parliament, adding that it was disingenuous for anyone to accuse Pakistan and its state institutions, including the ISI and armed forces, of “being in cahoots” with the al Qaeda network.
Gilani regretted the unilateral action by the US in Abbottabad, and warned that any attack on Pakistan’s strategic assets would be retaliated with full force. “Let no one draw any wrong conclusions. Any attack against Pakistan’s strategic assets whether overt or covert will find a matching response,” the premier told the National Assembly in a policy statement over the US Navy SEALs swoop on bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad on May 2.
“Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force. No-one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland,” averred Gilani amidst heavy thumping of desks by the parliamentarians.
He affirmed the government’s full confidence in the high command of the Pakistan armed forces and ISI. “Indeed, the ISI is a national asset and has the full support of the government. We are proud of its considerable accomplishments,” he added.
The premier also mentioned that some 40 key al Qaeda operatives, including Faraj al-Libbi and Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, were captured by the ISI. “No other country in the world and no other security agency has done so much to interdict al Qaeda than our spy agency and armed forces.”
“Pakistan alone cannot be held to account for flawed policies and blunders of others,” said Gilani as he raised the questions that “who was responsible for the birth of al Qaeda”, and “responsible for making the myth of bin Laden”.
“Pakistan is not the birthplace of al Qaeda. We did not invite bin Laden to Pakistan or even to Afghanistan. It is fair to ask who was bin Laden and what did he personify,” he categorically said.
Gilani regretted that the US unilateral action was undertaken without Pakistan’s concurrence, saying, “Unilateralism runs the inherent risk of serious consequences.” He informed the parliamentarians that the US had used its technological ability to evade Pakistan’s radar system. He also told them that an investigation into the matter had been ordered that would be carried out by Adjutant General of Pakistan Army Lt Gen Javed Iqbal.
Terming parliament as the right forum to discuss national issues, Gilani said a joint session of parliament had been called on May 13, and directed the concerned services authorities in the armed forces to give an in-camera briefing to the session on the matter. “Pakistan will not relent in this national cause,” the premier, who had “extensive interaction” with President Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani over the issue, told the House. agencies