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Pakistan trying to revive peace accord

The foreign minister said the army had been sent to the tribal areas in an attempt to save the accord and avoid "collateral damage."

world Updated: Jul 22, 2007 19:06 IST

With the US expressing concern over an Al-Qaeda "safe haven" in Pakistan, the country's foreign minister said.

Islamabad is trying to control cross-border movement of militants and trying to revive a peace accord in the tribal areas to deny any "excuse" for any country to launch direct attacks in the region.

Speaking to reporters in Lahore yesterday, Khurshid M Kasuri said the Pakistani government was trying to deal with the situation through political means and not by military action.

Kasuri said Western countries were alleging that militants were crossing into Afghanistan from the tribal areas. The government, he said, had informed them that it was trying to stop such activities.

He said although the extremists had unilaterally withdrawn from a peace agreement with President Pervez Musharraf's government, the North West Frontier Province governor was still doing his best to revive the peace deal.

Bush in a radio address yesterday termed last year's peace accord as a failure. He said al Qaeda has managed to establish a "safe heaven' in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said the army had been sent to the tribal areas in an attempt to save the accord and avoid "collateral damage."

Asked about the possibility of direct US attacks, he said the army wanted to avoid the killings and it was because of its careful planning that the casualty ratio between the two sides was much less than the one being witnessed in Iraq.

"About 500 troops have been killed against 800 militants, which was much less than 1:20 or 1:100 ratio monitored in Iraq," Kasuri was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.