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Clinton presses Pak to act against terrorists

Islamabad: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again pressed Pakistan today to act against terrorist safe havens, pointing out that militant groups have for long operated with impunity in the country and should not be tolerated.

Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Clinton said while US was committed to the people of Pakistan and their future, it wanted its relationship with the country to "deliver results" for both sides. "We should be able to agree that for too long extremists have been able to operate here in Pakistan and from Pakistani soil," said Clinton, a day after her meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Pressing hard for action against militant groups perpetrating violence, including Taliban and the Haqqani network, she said: "No one who targets innocent civilians, whether they be Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans or anyone else should be tolerated or protected."

She also welcomed the efforts being made by India and Pakistan to normalise trade relations and said a thriving economy and a stable and prosperous Pakistan would serve the interests of the region. She said the US and NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan were working hard to put pressure on the Taliban and "across the border we look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny them safe havens".

Reiterating Pakistan`s commitment to fight the menace of `terrorism, Khar said more than anything else her country`s fight was driven by the interests of its own people. However, she also said that the government would abide by political consensus over the issue. "… let me state clearly that in evolving any future strategy the government will be guided by principles of the resolution of the all parties conference which calls upon the government to give peace a chance".

The US has been pressing Pakistan to launch a military operation against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan but the Pakistani has resisted the pressure, saying its forces were stretched too thin by operations in other parts of the country.

Clinton issued a stern warning to Pakistan yesterday that the country will pay a "very big price" if it continued to allow its territories to be used as safe havens for terrorists who have crossed the border to attack Americans and Afghans.

"There`s no place to go any longer," Clinton said, referring to Pakistan`s leadership.

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