US-Pak relations appear to be on the boil on suggestions of unilateral American strikes against Al-Qaeda leaders on Pakistani soil with President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday saying it will be "counterproductive" to the joint fight against terrorism.
The comments by Pakistani General in the highest level rejection of US suggestions of possibility of striking at al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan's border areas came hours after President George W Bush expressed confidence of "getting the job done" given an opening.
Musharraf told visiting American Senator Richard J Durbin in a meeting in Karachi that Pakistan remained resolved to fighting terrorism, the Foreign Ministry said.
"He emphasized that only Pakistan's security forces, which were fully capable of dealing with any situation, would take counterterrorism action inside Pakistani territory," a Foreign Ministry statement said quoting Musharraf.
"In this regard, the President pointed out that certain recent US Statements were counterproductive to the close cooperation and coordination between the two countries in combating the threat of terrorism," it said.Bush while preserving ambiguity over American intentions told reporters he was confident that with "actionable intelligence" US will be able to bring top al Qaeda leadership to justice. Bush was asked whether he would wait for Pakistan's permission to launch strikes.
"We're in constant communications with the Pakistan government. It's in their interest that foreign fighters be brought to justice," he told reporters when asked whether he would wait for Pakistan's permission to launch strikes.
Bush, who stopped short of saying whether he would ask Musharraf before despatching US troops to Pakistan,noted that al-Qaeda had been plotting to kill Musharraf.
"After all, these are the same ones who are plotting to kill President Pervez Musharraf. We share a concern," Bush said.
Bush was speaking to reporters after talks with the visiting Afghan President Hamid Kharzai at the Camp David Presidential retreat.
On Friday, Pakistan and the White House differed on the contents of a call between Bush and Musharraf which touched on the issue of possible US strikes.
Yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Asalam said there were no al-Qaeda or Taliban safe havens in Pakistan. Last month, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate indicated that al-Qaida may be regrouping in Pakistan's areas bordering Pakistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz yesterday said "We will never allow any country to violate our sovereignty and integrity".
Aziz said Pakistan was cooperating with the world in fighting terrorism and believed in strong coordination among the countries. "We believe in intelligence-sharing, cooperation and coordination with friendly countries that are committed to fighting this scourge".