Pakistan's government sticking to its decision of not to launch new offensives in the country's border regions says that Islamabad needed to focus on holding territory captured from Taliban militants in the past year. The comments by Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, were made to the Financial Times in spite of encouragement by the US and the Nato military alliance to squeeze Taliban militants from the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan. They have urged Pakistan's army to launch operations in North Waziristan. The area is the stronghold of militant groups such as the Haqqani network, identified as a significant threat by the US. Mr Gilani said one of his priorities was working on an "exit strategy" for military forces that had taken swaths of territory held by Taliban militants in Malakand, Swat and South Waziristan. Military action had not been sufficiently followed up by development assistance to remove the threat of another advance of the Taliban insurgency. "We have to hold areas first and we should not be in a rush. We have to consolidate," said Mr Gilani. "We have to hold them first. Then it's up to the military and political leadership to think about how to proceed and when to go to other areas." Mr Gilani said Pakistan had a pivotal role in bringing stability to Afghanistan. He agreed with claims by some senior Pakistani officials that Islamabad was enjoying some of the greatest leverage over the international community for decades. "Pakistan is the only country that can help Afghanistan," he said. "You cannot achieve stability in Afghanistan without Pakistan. Therefore, Pakistan is in a unique position." Aides to the prime minister said they had been encouraged by a visit last week to Islamabad by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. Islamabad has pledged assistance in efforts to reconcile some Taliban elements with Kabul. Militants have renewed their attacks in Pakistan. They killed 54 people in bombings in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, on Friday. Seventeen more people were killed in Mingora in the Swat valley at the weekend. Mr Gilani acknowledged success in arresting "high-value targets", such as Mullah Baradar, an al-Qaeda leader. But he warned against expanding the military front in spite of rare unity in Pakistan, with "the civil and political leadership and military leadership on the same page". In what he described as a "guerrilla war", militants were now moving into some of Pakistan's most densely populated areas, such as Punjab province, after being dislodged from their mountain strongholds. "When you are controlling their strongholds, they are moving towards settled areas," he said. "In settled areas, they feel more secure because of the population. In the strongholds they have been taken over and now they are on the run." At a strategic dialogue meeting with the US in Washington next week, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, is likely to appeal to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, for more economic assistance, intelligence co-operation and military equipment. Pakistan is seeking upwards of $15bn (?11bn, 9.9bn) from foreign donors. Prime Minister said his biggest mistake was not reinstating the judges at the beginning of his term in office. "I should have restored the judiciary in the beginning," he said. "That is my biggest mistake. Then we would not have wasted our energies on each other. It would have been better that we would have concentrated on the people of Pakistan," he said. However, the successes are that "we have very ably completed two years with consensus in the parliament. We did a lot of legislation. The biggest success is that we have gathered the whole nation together on one platform - for the fight against terrorism - and that is the biggest victory ever." Another important victory is accommodating and rehabilitating the 2.5 million internally displaced persons in the shortest possible period of three months, he said, adding that "it is an unprecedented success in the history of the world". Furthermore, the constitutional amendments once inculcated will be a step forward for stabilising democracy in Pakistan, he told the Financial Times.