Source AP ©

Pakistani primier doesn't share U.S. skepticism about terrorism

Pakistan’s premier wants US not to criticize his country’s efforts against terrorism for it could be unproductive.

Shaukat Aziz's comments come amid signs of growing skepticism in the United States about Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's ability and commitment to combat Taliban and al-Qaida militants near the Afghan border.

Pakistani officials are alarmed at a bill being considered in the U.S. Congress that could link billions of dollars in American military aid to Islamabad's performance against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"Given the sacrifices that Pakistan has made in the war on terror, any legislation critical of Pakistan would involve a negative public reaction and prove to be counterproductive," Aziz said.

Aziz was addressing an international defense conference organized by the Pakistani and U.S. armies to underline the countries' close alliance since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

"To ensure and preserve this cooperation it is necessary for both of us to prevent any action that can impact this relationship in an adverse way," Aziz said.

The aid bill is one of the criticisms from Democrats, who took control of Congress last year, of Republican President George W. Bush's foreign policy and counter-terror strategy.

Aziz said differences of opinion between Washington and Islamabad should be resolved through "quiet diplomacy rather than the media."

He also said the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan is sacrosanct" - reflecting concern in Pakistan about alleged crossborder incursions by U.S. forces in pursuit of militants.

"Our armed forces are fully capable of taking any action required on our territory," he said.