Shaken by the suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel, the Pakistani government has decided to build political consensus on the war on terror even as a media debate rages on the issue.
"This is Pakistan's own war and we have to fight it in our national interest," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Daily Times reported on Thursday quoting sources privy to the meeting.
But, as The News said in an article headlined "Marriott tragedy: no illusions!", the hotel bombing "billed by some as Pakistan's 9/11, has once again thrown into the debating arena many questions".
"The prime question however remains whether Pakistan has any realistic chance of fighting this menace of terrorism and rolling it back," it added.
"The debate that whether Pakistan should be part of a war that some claim is a US war and not ours, has raged in the Pakistani media since the last few weeks with intensity. The debate though is not new and has gained newfound momentum in the wake of some US military incursions inside Pakistan territory.
"It appears that actual physical landing of the US soldiers on the Pakistani side of the borders may have ignited the fire of passion more as flights of US drones and one or two missile strikes have been seen in the past as well," The News said.
Detailing the various steps being taken to build consensus, Daily Times quoted officials as saying that though the National Assembly is scheduled to meet Oct 13-31, "the government might call a joint session (of parliament) early because of the swiftly changing scenario".
The government might also advance the National Assembly session and separately hold an in-camera briefing for parliamentarians.
During the cabinet meeting, Gilani also told the ministers to desist from making statements that might embarrass the government and asked them to limit their statements to their own portfolios instead of participating in television debates on issues they did not know details of.
Gilani faulted the intelligence agencies for "failing miserably" in controlling terrorism and expressed "dissatisfaction" over the general law and order situation.
"Today's cabinet (meeting) is haunted by the legacy of the Marriott Hotel suicide bombing," he said.
The cabinet accorded in principle approval to the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance of 2007 to address the financing of terrorism and to define money laundering in accordance with best international practices.