ISLAMABAD - Despite a hostile judiciary, a fractious military and long-running tensions with neighbouring India, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani believes the biggest threat facing his country stems from extremism and terrorism.

Strategically, Pakistan - which borders Afghanistan - is “a frontline state fighting war on extremism and terrorism”, the Prime Minister told Australia Network’s Newsline. “Because of the geographical situation the biggest challenge is extremism and terrorism.” While Pakistan was engaged in this fight, the Prime Minister told Newsline in a wide-ranging interview, he criticised the increasing use of drone strikes by the United States to combat militants in the country.

He said the strikes show no respect for the people of Pakistan and are a violation of the country’s sovereignty.  It should be up to Pakistan to take action inside its borders. “Whether they are successful or not successful is beside the point. The matter is of the sovereignty of the country.”

The Prime Minister also said: “There should be more credible and actionable information passed on to Pakistan. We can act (for) our own selves.” As for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he said it was “in safe hands” and had a “very good command and control system”.

Mr Gilani noted that India has won access to Australian uranium sales, and said that was a matter for the two countries involved. However, he said he had raised in international forums the need to ensure a balance in the region shared by India and Pakistan.