Pak soil should not be used for terrorism: Gilani

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday indirectly acknowledged that the US had provided a list of five top terrorists it wanted Pakistan to take action against and said Pakistani soil should not be used for terrorism directed against any country.

"As far as the list is concerned, they (the US) have always had concerns about the (militant) leadership and commanders affiliated with al-Qaeda.

"We also have concerns that Pakistani soil should not be used for terrorism," Gilani told a news conference in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

Gilani was responding to a question on whether US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had handed over a list of wanted terrorist leaders during her recent visit to Pakistan.

"If they spoke of any list, naturally there is intelligence-sharing by the ISI… but they must be related to al-Qaeda," he said.

Reports said the US list featured the names of al-Qaeda mastermind Ilyas Kashmiri, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar, commander Siraj Haqqani and Atiya Abdel Rahman, the Libyan operations chief of al Qaeda.

Kashmiri was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on Friday.

Asked about the reports of Kashmiri`s death, Gilani replied: "As far as the death of Ilyas Kashmiri is concerned, America has confirmed that his death occurred on Friday".

Gilani said it was "illegal" for Pakistani soil to be used for terrorism against a third country.

"We should make efforts to ensure that foreign terrorists do not come to Pakistan and indulge in terrorism as this creates problems for Pakistan," Gilani added.

He appealed to the political leadership and media to identify the "black sheep who are involved in disturbing peace and (in) killings", saying it was "not good" for Pakistan that terrorists like Osama bin Laden had been found in the country.

Such developments bring a bad name to the country and embarrass expatriate Pakistanis, he said.

Replying to a question on the US continuing its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan`s tribal belt despite a parliamentary resolution condemning the attacks, Gilani said the government had informed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the resolution was "morally binding".

"There is pressure from the parliament on the government. We have told them that Pakistan should get the drone technology and be in the driving seat.

"We are taking up this issue through diplomatic channels as a responsible nuclear state and we are hopeful we will convince them," he said.

Gilani, who visited Balochistan to assess the law and order situation in the restive province, said Pakistan wants to maintain "excellent relations with our neighbours, whether it is India, Afghanistan or Iran".

It also wants relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest with the West, including the US, he said.

In response to a question, he said no agreement had been finalised for China to take up the Gwadar port. He said he was "not aware of the context" of Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar`s remarks in this regard.

"We have an agreement with Singapore (on operating Gwadar port) and till it is done away with, we cannot talk to anyone else," he said.