Pak parliament to meet to discuss ties with US

Islamabad: Pakistan`s parliament will meet on October 3 to discuss the national security situation in the backdrop of growing tensions with the US following accusations by Washington that the ISI is backing the Haqqani network.

President Asif Ali Zardari today summoned a session of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament on October 3 on the advice of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, an official statement said.

The session, to be held in the wake of a series of allegations by senior US officials linking the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the Haqqani network, will focus on the security situation and challenges confronting Pakistan, officials said.

Prime Minister Gilani yesterday announced he would soon convene a meeting of the country?s political leadership to apprise them of the security situation and the emerging situation in the region.

Against the backdrop of US threats of unilateral action against the Haqqani network, Gilani said that Pakistan`s defence was strong and the country "would not allow any aggressor to fiddle with its frontiers".

The "people stood with their armed forces, which are fully capable to defend the frontiers of the country", he said, while addressing members of the business community at the Governor House in Karachi.

The war of words between Pakistan and the US on the ISI`s links with the Haqqani network escalated after Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani yesterday described US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen`s accusations as "not based on facts"

Kayani responded a day after Mullen accused the ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in carrying out a string of deadly terror attacks, including an assault on the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.

Mullen said the Taliban faction was a "veritable arm" of Pakistan?s spy agency.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has warned that the US risked losing its partnership with Pakistan if it continued criticising Islamabad for the alleged link between the ISI and the Haqqani network.

The relationship between the two countries has been bumpy since the beginning of this year, when a CIA contractor was arrested in Lahore for gunning down two men linked to the ISI.

The ties plunged to a new low after the covert US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.

Since then, the US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network, which is based in the North Waziristan tribal region.