WASHINGTON, July 29: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that Pakistan did not need guarantee for its sovereignty from the United States but he saw no harm if they volunteer such an assurance.

Talking to the Pakistani media in Washington, Mr Gilani described his meeting with White House hopeful Barack Obama earlier on Tuesday as positive.

“He supports democracy in Pakistan and he supports Pakistan’s sovereignty,” said Mr Gilani.

“Since he does not want to publicise the meeting so close to the election, we are not talking about it.”

Asked why Pakistan needs America’s guarantee for its sovereignty, the prime minister said: “We do not need such a guarantee from any one but if they offer it on their own, I see no harm.”

Mr Gilani described his meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House on Monday as “excellent” and once again assured the Pakistani media that he was no seeking America’s guarantee for Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved legislation to triple US assistance to Pakistan, agreeing to give a total of $15 billion in 10 years.

Two senior Senators -— Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar — had presented a bill in the US Senate last month, urging Congress to increase US assistance to Pakistan to assure the Pakistani people that Washington desires a long-term engagement with Islamabad.

The bill will now go to the full Senate and then to the House of Representatives before it can be implemented.

The package was approved in the presence of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who is currently in Washington for talks with President Bush and other senior officials.

The bipartisan legislation authorises 1.5 billion dollars annually for development purposes, such as building schools, roads and clinics, for five years and advocates a similar amount over a subsequent five-year period, beginning in 2009.

The non-military aid is a major shift in the US-Pakistan relations with the bill authorising a figure more than triple the current levels of non-military funding.

Opinion

Editorial

The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...
Security policy unveiled
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Security policy unveiled

PAKISTAN’S freshly unveiled National Security Policy has broadened the traditional concept and included economic...
Bold decisions
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Bold decisions

IT is a double blow within a matter of days. The Islamabad High Court’s order last week to demolish a navy golf...
17 Jan, 2022

Rohingya camp blaze

A HUGE blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to ...