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Thursday, May 12, 2011

PM says CIA-ISI cooperation has broken down

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Wednesday that continuing to work with the United States could imperil his government, unless Washington takes drastic steps to restore trust and win over 180 million Pakistanis.

In an exclusive interview with TIME — his first since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — he pointed out the widening "trust deficit" between the two allies.

The Prime Minister said cooperation between the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart, the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence), had broken down, and that Washington and Islamabad differed on how to fight terror and forge an exit strategy in Afghanistan.

Gilani warned that his government was accountable to an electorate increasingly hostile to the U.S. "I am not an army dictator, I'm a public figure," the Prime Minister told TIME, speaking at his palatial hilltop residence in Islamabad.

"If public opinion is against you [referring to his U.S. allies] then I cannot resist it to stand with you. I have to go with public opinion."

Speaking of the Abbottabad raid, Gilani said, "Naturally, we wondered why they went unilaterally. If we're fighting a war together, we have to work together. Even if there was credible and actionable information, then we should have done it jointly." Addressing the National Assembly on Monday, Gilani had warned the U.S. against further such strikes on its soil.

The PM said he was first alerted to the raid through a 2 a.m. call from Pakistan's Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Gilani then called his foreign secretary and asked him to demand an explanation from U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter.

"I have not met or spoken to [U.S. officials] since," he complained. "Whatever information we are receiving is from the media. Today, we have said that we want them to talk to us directly."

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