Pakistan PM: No more "business as usual" with U.S.
By Qasim Nauman and Chris Allbritton
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's prime minister ruled out "business as usual" with the United States on Monday after a NATO attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and the army threatened to curtail cooperation over the war in Afghanistan.
Saturday's incident on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan has complicated U.S. attempts to ease a crisis in relations with Islamabad and stabilize the region before foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan.
"Business as usual will not be there," Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told CNN when asked if ties with the United States would continue. "We have to have something bigger so as to satisfy my nation."
While the NATO strike has shifted attention from what critics say is Islamabad's failure to go after militants, Gilani's comments reflect the fury of Pakistan's government and military - and the pressure they face from their own people.
"You cannot win any war without the support of the masses," Gilani said. "We need the people with us."
The relationship, he said, would continue only if based on "mutual respect and mutual interest." Asked if Pakistan was receiving that respect, Gilani replied: "At the moment, not."
Gilani's comments cap a day of growing pressure from the Pakistani military, which threatened to reduce cooperation on peace efforts in Afghanistan.
"This could have serious consequences in the level and extent of our cooperation," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told Reuters. Continued...