Gilani: Terrorism “deterring international investors”; Mullen advocates a tough approach towards militants; Pakistan denied reimbursements totaling $400 million by US; Pakistan refuses to hand over arrested Taliban leaders to Afghanistan;
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  • Pakistan PM Gilani, in a radio address to the nation, promised to restore the 1973 constitution and pledged to eliminate terrorism from the country. Gilani stated that “the tide of terrorism” was “deterring international investors ….” He added that his government was open to constructive criticism from the media and the opposition parties.1

    The Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth on March 5 advocated a tough approach towards militants and stated that the use of force should not be considered as the last option. He added that the experience of fighting extremist forces in the Af-Pak region over nine years showed that force “need not be the last resort.”2

    The US Embassy in Islamabad meanwhile dissociated itself from US plan to provide ‘special protection’ to its diplomatic missions in Pakistan.3

    Pakistan failed to secure reimbursements totaling $400 million from the US on grounds of “inadequate substantiation” and “over-billing” under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). The development is being seen as proof of new ‘enhanced oversight and accountability’ guidelines put in place by the US.4

    Pakistan has declined the request of Afghan and US authorities to hand over arrested Taliban leaders Mulla Baradar and others. The Afghan Interior Minister had visited Pakistan for the purpose during the week.5

    In other developments, a key Taliban commander Maulana Muhammad Alam and four others were killed in the Madyan area in Swat on March 1. Alam played a key role in the Taliban capture of Buner district in April 2009.6