Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. – File Photo

PERTH: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said Pakistan, United States and Afghanistan need to continue working on a joint strategy in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

In an interview to SBS television here, the Prime Minister said, “We need cooperation and we all together have to make a strategy to fight against them (terrorists).”

He said he discussed with leaders of member states of Commonwealth the need to win hearts and minds of people.

“We have to do something practically for them, because we have to go to the root cause of terrorism, which is because of poverty and illiteracy and we have to fight that.”

He said the United States has already committed to building of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan for the uplift of living standards of people.

“But we are expecting that they do it soon. Only military actions are not the solution and once you have a military action, you should have an exit strategy with a socioeconomic programme, so that there is a permanent solution.”

About Pak-US relations, he said, “there had been a lot of ups and downs but there is a realisation that they can understand our ground realities and I discussed with them that we need a political space, so that we can fight better.”

“And if there is no political space left for us, then individually no one can be able to perform well, till such time when we have the support of the masses.”

The Prime Minister said Pakistan has lost many people in fight against terrorism, which shows its resolve and commitment. “We have lost about 30,000 people and 5,000 brave soldiers including that of law enforcement agencies and how anybody can even doubt our intention”.

He said he discussed with the Australian Prime Minister the recent attacks on Australian and US forces in Afghanistan.

“It is bad news and we really condemn this incident,” he said adding, “We are fighting against terrorism and extremism and we paid such a huge price and therefore we can't afford that ISAF forces and NATO forces lose. We want them to win. Because we are directly affected by such incidents.”

He said forces that are working in Afghanistan, have to leave one day but “we are the neighbours and we have to live permanently”.

To a question about the statements coming from Pentagon, he said Pentagon has its assessment and many statements come from the US and “we don't want to answer each and every statement. We only deal things politically and through the Foreign Office.”

The Prime Minister said he met US Secretary Hillary Clinton during her visit to Pakistan. “We had a lengthy meeting and we almost agreed on all points that they wanted.”

Pakistan and United States have great cooperation in defence and intelligence sharing, he added.

Gilani said the US wanted to win and Pakistan is ready to support any initiative of Afghanistan for any reconciliation.

“We are ready to support them as Pakistan is part of the solution. Therefore we are ready to help them,” he remarked.

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