Don’t Strike, We Have Nukes, Pakistan Army Chief Kayani Warns US


ISLAMABAD – Amid escalating tensions, Pakistan’s all powerful army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has warned the US not to launch a military offensive into his country’s tribal region. Asking the US to “think 10 times” before moving into North Waziristan, Kayani reminded the Americans that Pakistan was a nuclear power and should not be compared with Iraq or Afghanistan, media reports said Wednesday.

“They (US) might do it but they will have to think ten times because Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan,” Kayani was quoted by The Express Tribune as telling members of parliament’s defence committee during a briefing on Tuesday. A lawmaker had asked him to comment on the possibility of a US strike on Pakistan.

The US has been putting pressure on Pakistan to go after Haqqani network militants in North Waziristan, who cross the border to attack US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The Dawn newspaper quoted Kayani as ruling out the possibility of an “immediate unilateral US military offensive”.

The army chief said the US had been told that Pakistan did not need military aid, adding he had received a call from Washington asking if he meant it. “My reply was we mean what we say.”

On allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence had “unsavoury characters”, Kayani said intelligence came from links and all international intelligence agencies, including CIA, have such contacts.

Late Wednesday reports said US secretary of state Hillary Clinton would visit Pakistan on Thursday to defuse the crisis.