PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said negotiations between Pakistan and the United States would start soon to resolve thorny issues bedevilling the relationship. “We are the aggrieved party. We need the future relations to be based on respect of our sovereignty,” the prime minister said while talking to journalists after chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet at the Governor’s House here on Wednesday.
He said talks between Islamabad and Washington would start after the parliament approved decisions of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. He said the cabinet had already endorsed the DCC’s decisions and these would now be placed before parliament.
In reply to a question about Pakistan’s demands of the US government in the aftermath of the Nov 26 Nato air strikes in Mohmand Agency, Mr Gilani said Islamabad wanted strong guarantees and assurances from western forces in Afghanistan.
“We need a guarantee that American and Nato forces will not take unilateral action in future and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty,” he said, adding that Islamabad would determine new rules of engagement with its allies.
In retaliation for the air strikes, Pakistan immediately suspended supplies to Nato forces, boycotted the Bonn conference on Afghanistan and called back military officers from the headquarters of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Kabul.
Mr Gilani said the government had implemented resolutions adopted by the parliament and all parties’ conference and new rules of engagement would be formulated in the light of these resolutions.
In reply to a question about the delay in implementation of the parliament’s resolution, he said: “Our government has inherited this policy and it takes time to get rid of this practice. But enough is enough.”
He said ties between Islamabad and Kabul would improve after new terms of engagement with America.
The prime minister made it clear that the government would negotiate with only those militant groups which accepted its writ and surrendered to the political administration without any condition.
He said the government had adopted a three-D policy -- deterrence, dialogue and development -- for Fata and it would continue in future as well. He said Governor Barrister Masood Kausar had briefed the cabinet meeting on development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The cabinet also discussed development schemes in Fata and the federal government would coordinate with the province in implementing the Public Sector Development Programme.
Major projects in the province, including Lawari tunnel, northern bypass in Peshawar and Hazara expressway linking the motorway with Mansehra, also came under discussion. The prime minister directed that the northern bypass should be completed as early as possible.
The prime minister said the federal government had spent Rs1.5 trillion on various projects in the country over the past three years and its details would be provided to the media soon.
He said the Awami National Party and the Pakistan People’s Party would continue cooperation in future.