Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has dispelled reports of joint operations with the US against militants in North Waziristan, saying Pakistan alone would decide the timing of any offensive in the tribal region according to its military requirements.
Kayani made Pakistan's position on military operations in North Waziristan clear during a meeting last night with Gen James Mattis, commander of the US Army's Central Command, the Pakistani military said today.
The powerful army chief "categorically dispelled the speculative reporting in the US media regarding an understanding given to Gen John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Forces, about the Pakistan Army's readiness to launch joint operations in North Waziristan Agency", a military statement said.
A joint operation is "unacceptable to the people and armed forces of Pakistan" and has always been a "clearly stated red line" of the country, he said.
Kayani "clearly reiterated" Pakistan's oft repeated perspective on the issue.
"We might, if necessary, undertake operations in North Waziristan Agency, in the timeframe of our choosing and determined only by our political and military requirements," he said.
"It (the operation) will never be a result of any outside pressure. Pakistan's national interest continues to be the prime consideration for any decision in this regard," he said.
Kayani clarified Pakistan's position by referring to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement of July 3, in which she had talked of "coordinated actions against terrorists who threaten Pakistan and the region".
Kayani said it was important to distinguish between "coordinated action" and a "joint operation".