Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday confirmed the worst suspicions about his country's relationship with America saying there was no trust left between the two allies supposed to be engaged in a joint “war'' against terror.
“Yes there is a credibility gap, we are working together and still we don't trust each other. I think we have to improve our relationship so that for better results, we should have more confidence in each other,” he told the BBC in by far the most stark official assessment of Pak-U.S. relations to come out of Islamabad in the wake of the recent NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Asked whether Pakistan believed the air strikes were “pre-planned and deliberate'', Mr Gilani said: “Apparently, yes. There's an internal inquiry being conducted. We are waiting for the results .''
What could have been the motive for such an attack? “This is a big question mark. When we're cooperating to such an extent why this thing has happened,'' he said.
Was Pakistan “angry” that U.S. President Barack Obama had not apologised for the attacks? Mr Gilani retorted: “Sorry doesn't make dead men alive. Therefore we want to set new rules of engagement and cooperation with the United States.''
The Pakistani blockade to stop NATO convoys into Afghanistan would continue until the new rules of engagement were settled and that could take “weeks'', he said.
Mr. Gilani refused to rule out closing airspace to the U.S. to prevent such strikes saying Pakistan would not tolerate any foreign military operation within its territory.
“If there is any credible or actionable information passed on to Pakistan I think it should be left to Pakistan to take action,'' he said.
Mr. Gilani denied that President Asif Ali Zardari, who is being treated in Dubail, had suffered a stroke and had written a letter of resignation. “Why should he write? He has the backing and support of the entire Parliament.” About speculation that the Army was trying to oust Mr. Zardari, he said: “Rumours are rumours.”
Mr. Zardari's health was improving but he would need two weeks' rest before returning home.