ISLAMABAD - The Defence Committee of Cabinet (DCC) has decided to keep Nato supply route closed and also rejected the US inquiry report on the Salalah checkpost attack.

The committee met here Saturday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review the defence issues and the state of relations with US and Nato/Isaf in the backdrop of proactive attack on Pakistani troops and the steps taken in response by Pakistan. Among others it was attended by all the three services chiefs, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, ministers of defence, foreign affairs, finance, interior and information and senior minister for industries and defence productions.

Military Operations director general gave the committee a detailed briefing on the US Centcom inquiry report on Nov 26, 2011 Nato attack on Pakistani border posts in which 26 army personnel were martyred. Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed The Nation that the DCC with voice vote rejected the report as biased and one-sided and also recommended that the ban on Nato supplies from Pakistani routes should not be lifted.

It was also a consensus view of the committee that United States should made to realise that the continued breach of the country’s territorial sovereignty would not be tolerated. It also decided that relations with US and Nato should be redefined in the light of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security soon to be placed before the Joint Sitting of the Parliament for discussion.

The committee expressed serious concern over the resumption of the drone attacks after the break of well over six weeks. The internal security situation also came under sharp focus with special reference to the recent suicide attacks and terrorist activities in various parts of the country in which scores of innocent people have lost their lives. The defence committee stressed the need of enhancing the coordination and intelligence sharing between the law enforcement agencies to check the resurgence of terrorism.

Addressing the meeting, PM Gilani said the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would not be compromised at any cost and that all the state organs were united to bring forth the best in promoting interests of the state and the people. “It has been our consistent endeavour to safeguard Pakistan’s supreme national interests in a most effective and inclusive manner and all state institutions work toward this end remaining within their defined constitutional domain,” he said.

“We have achieved notable success in dealing with the menace of terrorism and we have done so in our national interest,” the prime minister said. He noted that terrorism and the continued strife and conflict in Afghanistan have impacted directly and severely on Pakistan. He said thousands of people, officers and jawans of the armed forces and security personnel fell victim to terror and militancy.

He said the government and the parliament and above all patriotic people have stood fully behind the brave armed forces and security forces, and there is complete national consensus that terrorism will not be allowed any space on the sacred soil of Pakistan.

Gilani said Pakistan has also been cooperating with the international community, but made it clear, “We would reject any approach that would tend to compromise our sovereignty, honour and national dignity… Our contribution and steadfast commitment to stability and peace at home and in our region is unquestionable and second to none… Our cooperation is based on a partnership approach, which entails mutual respect, trust and mutual interest.“

The PM said following the Nato/Isaf attacks on Pakistan’s border posts on Nov 26, this forum took clear decisions which were subsequently endorsed by the cabinet. He said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was entrusted to formulate recommendations for consideration by the parliament. The committee has held several meetings and its conclusions and recommendations will be considered by the parliament, he added.

Prime Minister Gilani said a full review of the terms of cooperation with US/Nato is in process. “We hope that decisions in this regard will be in line with the aspirations of our people and go a long way in preserving and protecting our national interests and promote peace in the region,” he added.

The prime minister said Pakistan is a peace loving country and will continue to play a responsible role for promoting global and regional peace and security. “We are committed to forging good relations with all neighbours and the international community… Our record in international peacekeeping has been appreciated by the international community on a number of occasions,” he noted.

Gilani said national unity is the need of the hour. “Democracy provides avenues to forge national consensus and each organ and state institution has to play its due role, within its respective domain, to bring forth the best in promoting Pakistan’s national interest.”

He said the armed forces are a pillar of the state and primary source of national strength. He said the nation applauds their heroic services in the defence of the motherland. Similarly, the civil institutions have their due role to play for socio-economic development and for ensuring progress and prosperity, he added. The prime minister said, “Together in complete harmony with each other and with other vital institutions, we can change the country’s destiny and accord it its rightful place in the comity of nations.”

Gilani said it has been his government’s policy to allow and enable all state institutions to play their role in their respective domains for the common good of the people. He said, “It is this desire to set good and healthy democratic traditions that has enabled us to always seek strength from the parliament, which is the hallmark of a democratic government.”

“Our record attendances of the National Assembly and more than 100 cabinet meetings are testimony to the government’s commitment to strengthening democracy in the country,” he said.

The PM said in the same vein, timely ECC (Economic Coordination Committee) meetings and regular meetings of the DCC with the cooperation of all institutions have gone a long way in achieving consensus on important issues. He said the forums for inter-ministerial and inter-agency consultations and coordination, such as the DCC and the cabinet were functioning smoothly. The PM said the nation’s strength is its institutions and assured “we will do everything to strengthen our institutions with a view to enhancing their effectiveness and capacity and there should be no ambiguity on this account”.

The PM said he attached great importance to this forum (DCC), which is responsible for policy consultations and coordination on issues pertaining to national security, defence and foreign policy. He said it is a matter of immense satisfaction that the DCC has held regular meetings and deliberated on important matters relating to safeguarding country’s security. Gilani said the decisions taken by the DCC have guided the government in steering the country in a particularly difficult phase, given the complexity of the regional and global environment.

The meeting among other issues considered the US Centcom Inquiry Report on the border incident of Nov 26, 2011, and rejected it declaring it unsatisfactory. They also decided to keep the blockage of Nato supplies till receiving of credible and viable assurances from the allies that no such incidents would be repeated in the future.