Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday countered US accusations linking Pakistani spy agency to terror groups in Afghanistan, saying his country cannot be pressured to "do more" in the war on terror, as Inter-Services Intelligence chief warned "quick and equal response" to any unilateral attack.
"Pressure cannot be put on Pakistan to do more (in the war on terrorism). Our national interests must be respected under all circumstances," Gilani said while opening a meeting of the country's political leadership that he convened to forge a consensus response to tensions with the US.
The premier rejected allegations by senior US officials, including military chief Adm Mike Mullen, linking the ISI agency to the Haqqani network and recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, saying these accusations were a cause of concern for Pakistan.
ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha told the meeting that any unilateral US military action against militants in Pakistan will be "unacceptable" and the country's armed forces have the capability to respond to such a strike. There was no official word on Pasha's briefing.
Briefing the politicians about the security situation and challenges facing Islamabad, Pasha was quoted by the news channels as saying that "political, diplomatic and military channels" should be used to resolve differences between Pakistan and the US.
Pakistan will not allow the situation to get to a "point of no return", he was quoted as saying. However, Pasha made it clear that any US attack within Pakistan in the name of fighting militants will be "unacceptable" and could trigger a "quick and equal response", Express 24/7 channel quoted its sources as saying.
On hearing this, Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif questioned the ISI chief's remarks and asked why the world community was accusing Pakistan of backing militants, Geo News channel reported.
Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani responded to Sharif's remarks by saying that he would address the former premier's concerns, the channel reported.
Referring to steps taken by Pakistan to back the Afghan peace process and a sudden spurt in terror attacks in the
neighbouring country, Gilani said, "In the light of these events in Afghanistan, the US leadership's statements were surprising for us as they were contrary to Pakistan's sacrifices and successes against terrorism and extremism."