ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government on Tuesday swiftly condemned the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, describing him as a “friend” with whom Islamabad was working closely on peace efforts.
The statement was released jointly by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, just days after the United States accused the Pakistani government of having ties to Taliban faction the Haqqani network.
“The people of Pakistan stand by their Afghan brothers and sisters in this moment of grief,” the joint statement said.
“Rabbani was a friend of Pakistan with whom we were working closely within the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Commission for Reconciliation and Peace on a vision for peace and prosperity in Afghanistan,” both the leaders said.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Pakistan to take action against al Qaeda-linked Haqqani militants, whose leadership is based in Pakistan’s tribal belt and are blamed for a 20-hour siege in Kabul last week.
Clinton met Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for 3.5 hours of “very substantial” and “very candid” talks in New York that began and ended with counter-terrorism, Clinton spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
A senior State Department official also told reporters on condition of anonymity that the talks began and ended with concerns about the Taliban-allied Haqqani network Washington suspects receives Pakistani government support.