On Monday, July 28, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani attended a dinner hosted by Pakistan’s ambassador to United States Hussain Haqqan.

Also present at the occasion were top US officials, including CIA chief Michael Hayden and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Mr. Gilani at the dinner reception said that the war against terrorism is not just an American war and Pakistan is fighting for its own cause.

“This is not a Charlie Wilson’s war – it is Benazir Bhutto’s war,” the Prime Minister said.

Whether it is Benazir Bhutto’s war or not – just days before Mr. Gilani had left Pakistan for talks with US officials, Khalid Shahanshah, a key witness in the Benazir Bhutto case was assassinated outside his residence in Karachi.

Shahanshah, also the chief security officer of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was interviewed by the Scotland Yard team which visited Pakistan to investigate the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto. The case remains unsolved to this day.

At the dinner, Prime Minister Gilani also said that the government would not negotiate with terrorists and would not let its territory be used as a sanctuary for attacks on its neighbours.

This year, the government signed peace deals in North Waziristan, Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Malakand, and Mohmand. The Taliban have violated the terms of these agreements in every region where accords have been inked.

However, a majority of Pakistanis continue to demand a peaceful settlement with the tribal leaders through dialogue and not force.

With the ongoing military operation in the tribal areas and the talks between the two countries in Washington, the present government has found itself to be in a similiar situation in which the Musharraf regime was once – the only difference being, now a democratic government is making undemocratic decisions.

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