22 August, 2014 / Shawwal 25, 1435

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks at the joint session of the parliament in Islamabad on Thursday. – Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday told the join session of the parliament that his government would implement the recommendations in “letter and spirit.”

Speaking at the joint session of parliament after presentation of the draft of Parliamentary Committee on National security (PCNS) recommendations regarding its reservations over the resumption of Nato supplies, he said that for the first time ever matters of national security and foreign affairs have been debated in the parliament, which was an achievement of this democratic government.

“It has been proven time and again that we stand united when it comes to national interests,” said the premier.

He said that we learnt from our mistakes the hard way. “We halted Nato supplies, had US air force vacate Shamsi Airbase after Salala attack in which scores of Pakistani troops lost lives to Nato gunship helicopter,” the prime minister added.

“Our partnership cannot be at the cost of our sovereignty or territorial integrity,” he said.

“We want to proactively engage with our international partners. Our resolve to combat extremism and terrorism remains unshakeable.”

Earlier while presenting the panel's recommendations, chairman PCNS Raza Rabbani told the parliament that relations with the United States should be based on mutual respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

When asked whether Pakistan would re-open the supply routes to Afghanistan, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan did not specify a course of action.

“Parliament has given us some guidelines and principles. Keeping them in mind, and the will of the people, we will soon take an appropriate position on the matter,” she told reporters outside parliament after Gilani's speech.

Reacting to the long awaited development in Islamabad, the US embassy welcomed the move by the Pakistani parliament. “We welcome Pakistani parliament’s call for relations with the US based on mutual respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said a statement.

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