'Joint Op Against Osama Would Have Been More Useful'

Asserting that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was an enemy of Pakistan, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday said a joint US-Pak operation to kill him would have been more useful in carrying out the partnership between the two countries.

'Joint op against Osama would have been more useful'

Washington: Asserting that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was an enemy of Pakistan, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday said a joint US-Pak operation to kill him would have been more useful in carrying out the partnership between the two countries.

"Pakistan has repeatedly said that bin Laden was an enemy," Khar told MSNBC in an interview.

"Pakistani intelligence; Pakistani military has hunted down more al-Qaeda operatives than anywhere else in the world. So, al-Qaeda happens to be an enemy for Pakistan. There is no denying that," she argued in response to a question.

"However, again, as I mentioned, a joint approach, a joint operation, would have obviously been much more useful to carry on the partnership and to carry on efforts to be able to achieve what I am calling common objectives," she said.

Bin Laden was killed in May 2011 in a covert raid by special US forces in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad.

"I think that is what is important: to look at this as a common objective. To look at us moving towards a common goal because at the strategic plane, I think United States and Pakistan agree on what are their goals and objectives. Where we have differences, which have become apparent in the past few months, as to what are the tools that should be used to be able to achieve those end objectives," she said.

War against terrorism, she argued, can't work without the ownership of the people.

"It is not working, one, without ownership of the people of any country, of any place. You can see that in the United States also," she said.

"When you go to war in a country you have to have ownership of the people of your country to -- because war is costly, as it has been for Pakistan. We've had losses, colossal, economically, close to USD 60 billion. We've had losses, colossal, in terms of human life, 30,000 civilians dead; 10,000 paramilitary and military forces together dead.

All of these and loss to Pakistan's society, back to Pakistan's way of life, has been colossal," she observed.

"Now, with that, with those losses, we have to make sure that this is not seen to be our participation in what is considered to be an international effort. Is not seen to be an effort which is in the unilateral interests of the United States, but it's seen to be an effort which is in the mutual interest of the United States and Pakistan. For that, it is of course extremely important to be able to build that broad ownership that is required for any country to be able to be an effective partner," Khar said.

Khar said the November 26 incident, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO cross border fire, was really the brink of continuing with a relationship or a partnership which was increasingly being seen in Pakistan not to be working for Pakistan.

"I think here in the parliament review therefore, we have a unique opportunity to put things correctly. I think this is a unique opportunity to put things right, the type of opportunity that we haven't seen many times before," she said.

"What it gives to us in Pakistan and to you in the United States of America is an opportunity to put this partnership on a track which is more lasting, which has the ownership of the people. In that, what we have to be careful about, is that we are married to the end objective of fighting militants, extremism in this part of the world," Khar said.

"However, if we are too married or too attached to some tools which are considered to be violative of Pakistan's sovereignty, Pakistan's territorial integrity, and the whole spirit of partnership, then I'm afraid we will not meet the type of success," Khar warned.