Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Islamabad September 27, 2011. - Reuters Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan warned the United States on Tuesday to stop accusing it of playing a double game with militants and heaped praise on ‘all-weather friend’ China, promising maximum support to the neighbouring country in fighting separatists.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, speaking to Reuters, said any unilateral military action by the US to hunt down militants of the Haqqani network inside Pakistan would be a violation of his country’s sovereignty.

The outgoing chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, last week described the Haqqani network as a “veritable arm” of the ISI.

“The negative messaging, naturally that is disturbing my people,” the prime minister said. “If there is messaging that is not appropriate to our friendship, then naturally it is extremely difficult to convince my public. Therefore, they should be sending positive messages.”

Asked why the United States had suddenly ratcheted up its criticism of Pakistan, the prime minister implied that it reflected Washington’s frustration with the war in Afghanistan ahead of a withdrawal of US troops from the country in 2014.

“Certainly they expected more results from Afghanistan, which they have not been able to achieve as yet,” he said. “They have not achieved what they visualised.”

Rejecting allegations that Pakistan was behind any violence across its border, he said: “It is in the interest of Pakistan to have a stable Afghanistan.”

Prime Minister Gilani also pointed out that the US did not help itself when it struck a deal on civilian nuclear cooperation with India but not Pakistan.

“There is an acute shortage of electricity in Pakistan. And there are riots. And the opposition is playing to the gallery because there is a shortage of electricity,” he said.

“But they (the US) are doing the civilian nuclear deal not with Pakistan, but with India. Now how can I convince my public that they are your (Pakistan’s) friends and not the friends of India?... the perception matters.”

CHINA: In comments broadcast on television networks after his talks with Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, Mr Gilani said Pakistan and China “are true friends and we count on each other”.

“China’s enemy is our enemy, we will extend our full cooperation to China on security,” he said.

“We will cooperate with you to the extent you want us to cooperate,” he said.

“Pakistan-China Friendship is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey,” a statement issued by the prime minister’s office quoted him as saying.

China last month said camps in Pakistan were training “terrorists” from an Uighur group blamed for two attacks in July in the Xinjiang region that left 21 people dead.The Chinese minister also held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and military chiefs.The military said the talks focused on the “emerging geo-strategic situation” in the region and the Chinese leader “appreciated” the role played by Pakistan’s armed forces “in the fight against terror”.

“We will work together to contribute to national security and regional stability,” Mr Meng told reporters.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also thanked the visiting leader for China’s “unwavering support”.

During the visit, Pakistan and China signed agreements worth $250 million in Chinese assistance, the president’s office said.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, at the United Nations on Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Beijing to open a dialogue with Washington on Pakistan.

“We have stated this before, but there’s clearly an urgency given recent developments and also given the close relationship that exists between Pakistan and China,” a State Department official said in a briefing to reporters.—Reuters/AFP

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