Pakistan is warning the US to stop blaming it for instability in the region. It comes as Washington is stepping up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told a gathering of the country’s political leaders that “the blame game should end”. Pakistan’s national interests should be respected, he said.
The top US military officer has claimed that one group of militants in Afghanistan is a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy agency.
The Americans have since softened their tone. Nonetheless US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is close to deciding whether the Haqqani network should be designated as a foreign terrorist group. The organisation is believed to have strong ties in Pakistan.
The US Congress is re-examining its promise to triple non-military aid to Pakistan.
In Karachi and Lahore, anti-American protests heard calls for the Pakistani leadership to stand up to the US.
Many in the country are deeply suspicious of America’s war on terror since 2001.
The country’s military spy chief is expected to brief Pakistani politicians on strained ties with the US. His comments could determine the stance that Islamabad takes with Washington: whether to harden its stand, or seek reconciliation.