ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan is a sovereign state and the decision to launch the military offensive in North Waziristan will be taken keeping in view the ground realities and without naming the US, he dispelled the impression of bowing to any external pressure in this regard. Talking to media men after inaugurating the photo exhibition on Swat titled 'Swat Smiles Again at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Saturday evening, the Prime Minister, once again, reiterated that the countrys defence would be ensured at all costs. He further said that Pakistan was a democratic atomic power and could not be subdued by external pressures. Besides Premier Gilani Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, MNA Fara Naz Isphani and elite of town attended the function. To a question, he said that in upcoming budget the allocations for defence would be enhanced adequately to meet the Armys defence requirements. To another question, Premier Gilani saw no relevance between the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ishfaq Pervaiz Kayanis Afghanistan visit with launching of the military offensive in North Waziristan. He, once again, made it clear that any military offensive in any part of the country would be launched keeping in view the ground realities and purely in the light of the indigenous policy. To a question about the extension in Chief of Army Staffs service, Premier Gilani said that the decision in this regard would be made at the appropriate time. To a question regarding the controversy generated by the remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Premier Gilani said that after the clarification issued by the Chief Justices office the matter was closed. He condemned the recent terror attacks in Lahore and said that such incidents were maligning the countrys image and expressed his Governments resolve to crush the terrorism of all manifestations and forms. Gilani said the people of Swat and Malakand Division in particular and people of Pakistan in general also deserved abiding tribute for their immense sacrifices both in terms of human lives and material. Had they not supported the democratic Government, it would have been difficult for us to overcome the challenge in such a short time, he added. Earlier, addressing the function, the PM said Swat Smiles Again is a moment of fulfilment and self-actualisation. It is a story of success and realisation of a dream, a dream which the terrorists and extremists wanted to destroy. The success in Swat and Malakand Division shows that a handful of terrorists and extremists cannot muzzle the voice of the majority. They cannot impose their conservative agenda, if the people are resilient and ready to pay any price to protect their future. He said when the present Government took over in 2008, the country was reeling under the burden of serious issues. The Government was very clear in its vision and knew very well that the bold and courageous initiatives were unpopular decisions and for which it might have to get flak from the political opposition. Despite knowing the cost, the Government preferred the national interest over everything else. The terrorists attempted to challenge the writ of the Government. There was a near collapse of Governments writ in the settled areas like Swat and Malakand Division. Military action was a matter of the last resort, as it could entail collateral damage and cause displacement of people at a massive level. The Government tried to find a negotiated settlement of the issue despite a very strong opposition and allegations of surrendering to the terrorists, he said. The successes achieved in the Malakand Division and the political ownership of the war enabled the Armed Forces to launch the 'Raha-e-Najat to flush out terrorists from there, he said. Our gratitude is due to our valiant Armed Forces, which added a glorious chapter to the history of counterinsurgency. The record time within the operation Rah-e-Rast was accomplished and IDPs rehabilitated astonished the world, he said.