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Pak rejects appeals by West, sticks to boycott Bonn meet

Brushing aside appeals from western countries, Pakistan today stuck to its decision to boycott the Bonn meet on Afghanistan saying that the stand was "final" and it would not "bow before US pressure".

world Updated: Nov 30, 2011 21:59 IST

Brushing aside appeals from western countries, Pakistan on Wednesday stuck to its decision to boycott the Bonn meet on Afghanistan saying that the stand was "final" and it would not "bow before US pressure".

Signalling a hardening of its stand on the Nato air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the attack had crossed "red lines". Khar indulged in the tough talk while briefing the standing committee on foreign affairs of the Senate, or upper house of Parliament, on the Saturday's attack.

Her comments came at a time when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani seemed to have softened the stand saying, "If we have no assurance about Pakistan's security, sovereignty, integrity, honour, dignity and self-respect, then we cannot go (to the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan)".

West had stepped up efforts to ensure Islamabad's participation in the meet, in which 85 nations and 15 international organisations are due to attend. US, Germany and Afghanistan have already publicly asked Pakistan to reconsider its decision.

However, an assertive Khar said, "Enough is enough. The government will not tolerate the spilling of even a single drop of blood of any civilian or soldier." "We will not bow before US pressure," she added.

The government's decisions to ask the US to vacate Shamsi airbase and not to attend the Bonn Conference were "final", Khar said. Gilani had earlier said it would no longer be "business as usual" in Pakistan-US ties.

Khar told the parliamentary panel that the motive behind the government's reaction was to ensure national security and the country's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's army released footage today it said showed the remains of two bombed mountaintop outposts on the Afghan border that were hit in a deadly NATO raid that killed 24 soldiers.

The footage showed aerial views of the two destroyed outposts, Boulder and Volcano, and close-ups of the site of an attack that the army described as a "deliberate act of aggression" by NATO helicopters and a war plane.

White smoke could be seen spiralling from large swathes of blackened ground either side of the remote rocky mountaintop where both posts were situated. Army spokesman Brigadier Syed Azmat Ali said the smoke was a result of the nearly two-hour incident in the early hours of Saturday. The footage was filmed on Sunday morning, he said.

It was not clear why it had taken until Wednesday to release. Scattered sandbags, tarpaulin sheets and corrugated iron sheets can be seen lying around one of the abandoned posts, and Pakistani soldiers wander through the wreckage, one taking photographs.

A single white flag flies from a branch stuck in the soil. In another shot a stone hut can be seen, metres (yards) from the remains of a rock wall, next to which magazines of ammunition have been abandoned.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday pledged an investigation "as swiftly and thoroughly as possible" into the "tragic incident" but stopped short of apologising for the deaths.

(with AFP inputs)