ISLAMABAD, June 30: President Pervez Musharraf told a five-member US Congressional delegation on Monday that Pakistan would not tolerate a recurrence of US-led Nato attack on Pakistani troops from Afghanistan.
“The targeted attack on Pakistan’s observation post on June 10 was absolutely intolerable,” presidential spokesman Maj-Gen (retd) Rashid Qureshi quoted President Musharraf as saying.
He told Dawn the delegation, led by Senator Benjamin Cardin, was told that the unjustified attack, which killed a major and 12 soldiers, enraged the people of Pakistan.
Mr Qureshi said the American senators agreed with the president that the US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan should not violate Pakistan’s air space.
The president briefed the senators on the situation in the NWFP, particularly on efforts to prevent Taliban from entering Peshawar from tribal areas.
“These senators are visiting Pakistan to gauge the political situation as well as to know what is happening in border areas,” Mr Qureshi said.
The president said that Al Qaeda operatives were supporting Taliban and some miscreants to create problems in the NWFP. “But they would never succeed in their nefarious designs,” Mr Qurashi said quoting the president.
Mr Musharraf said Pakistan wanted to enhance trade relations, instead of relying on aid from the United States.
The president said the NWFP government was committed to rooting out terrorism and militancy from the province.He explained the government’s comprehensive multi-pronged strategy combining political, military and socio-economic development measures.
He appreciated congressional support for Pakistan’s counter-terrorism initiatives including Fata development plan, reconstruction opportunity zones and capability building of the Frontier Corps.
The spokesman said the president urged the delegation to release development funds out of the $750 million assistance announced for five years to help improve the socio-economic conditions in tribal areas.
Supporting development activities in tribal areas would be the best way to curb extremism and poverty, the president said.
The visiting members of the congress conveyed their support for the strategic relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
They appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to combating terrorism and reaffirmed their support for Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.
The bipartisan delegation led by Senator Cardin included Zach Wamp, Robert Aderholt, Mike McIntyre and Loretta Sanchez.