BEIJING - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday said the United States had assured Pakistan of no more unilateral action and only joint operations would be conducted in future.
Speaking at a Peking University ceremony to commemorate 60th year of Sino-Pak diplomatic relations, Mr Gilani said Pakistan has decided to revisit its strategy in the war on terror and its relations with the US. He said this while referring to the resolution adopted by the Parliament.
Gilani said Pakistan will always hold Beijings support in highest esteem because China was the first and the only country that supported Pakistan in trying period of its history when America violated our sovereignty. We can trust China for all times to come, he said.
Recalling statement of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Pakistan in which he said the bilateral bonds between the two neighbours were time-tested and all weather, Mr Gilani said: I have improvised it and I say: Our relations are taller than mountains, deeper than sea, strong as steel and sweet as honey. This assertion received loud applause.
The PM said from the leadership to grass-root level this strong feeling is felt among masses equally which provide a strong base to understanding each other's problems better. He said my message on the occasion of celebrating 2011 as the year of Sino-Pak ties should also be treated as year of the youth.
Mr Gilani said terrorism and extremism were a global issue and a united approach was the need of the hour to overcome the menace. He said Pakistan was caught in a strange situation. We are neighbour of Afghanistan with which we have a very long border. In our attempt to fight terrorism, we have rendered unmatched sacrifices in terms of human resource and financial losses. 5000 para-military troops and officers were martyred while 35,000 innocent civilians were killed either during fighting with terrorists or by drone attacks, he said.
Mr Gilani went on: Afghan war that led to dismemberment of the former Soviet Union left 3.5 million Afghan refugees for Pakistan to host. All Nato forces put together had not suffered as much human losses as much Pakistan did. There is no single country that has suffered so much as Pakistan We paid a very heavy price.
The PM said the world community should recognize Pakistans contribution in international war on terror in a similar manner in which China has done. No one alone can stabilize Afghanistan without Pakistans help. We are not part of the problem. We are part of the solution, he argued.
Replying to questions from the audience mainly students from various faculties, the Prime Minister said Pakistan has long been condemning the CIA-led drone attacks in the Fata region and consider these raids as violation of sovereignty.
He said an in-camera session of the Parliament was recently held and MPs unanimously condemned drone attack and a resolution was passed asking the government to convey to the US that such attacks were counter-productive.
Dispelling the perception that Osama Kill Operation was conducted in connivance with Islamabad, he said Pakistan has informed the US that solo strikes like Abbottabad were unnecessary and in future only joint raids would be allowed. In this connection he said Pakistani and American policy-makers and experts were already in contact to formulate mutually acceptable solution.
Later, speaking at the China-Pakistan Entrepreneurs Forum, Mr Gilani called on Chinese firms to invest in his countrys energy sector, in a bid to boost a moribund economy hit by massive floods last year and weak Western investment.
There is great potential for the participation of Chinese corporations in the development of the energy sector in Pakistan. This includes hydro, thermal and renewable, he said. I would urge Chinese corporations to focus on Pakistan in their strategic business plans.
Mr Gilani said the Pak-China economic integration was a strategic imperative that was why the Chinese corporate sector and entrepreneurs should focus on Pakistan in their business plans.
The idea is not only to develop mutually-beneficial bilateral economic cooperation but also to jointly promote intra-regional and trans-regional development partnerships, he said, adding: Our bilateral trade touched $9 billion last year. However, the scope of further growth is immense. Our two countries have set a target of attaining dollars 15 billion trade in the coming years, he added.
It may be mentioned here that the Prime Minister will visit China Academy of Space Technology today (Friday). He would be briefed over latest radar system as well satellite technology. It is expected that Pakistan would get 10 state-of-the-art radar systems and other satellite technology.