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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pak-Afghan border needs a fence like US-Mexico: Gilani

Wants Cobra helicopters from U.S.
Dawn News, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday sought the support of the United States to work out a permanent solution for uncontrolled, illegal crossings, particularly of militants and terrorists, and drug trafficking across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Gilani was talking to US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napilitano, who called on him here at the PM House on Friday. Referring to Janet's initiative, as governor of Arizona, of erecting a wall between the US and Mexico border, the prime minister said a similar pattern of fencing between Pakistan and Afghanistan could be implemented to stop infiltration and drug trafficking.

He also called for immediate provision of military hardware, including Cobra helicopters, technology transfer as well as financial assistance to build the capacity of Pakistan's law-enforcement agencies and their personnel to prepare them for controlling the affected areas after the military operation comes to a successful conclusion in the Malakand Division and Waziristan agencies.

The prime minister underlined the fact that international support to Pakistan for the displaced persons of the Malakand Division had so far been inadequate. He urged the US and international donors to deliver on their pledges made in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting in Tokyo.

The prime minister asked the US secretary for homeland security to facilitate PIA's direct flights operations to the US destinations. Ms Janet said the issue of PIA's direct flights to the US would be resolved after due consideration in the near future. She also promised that the US would expedite disbursement of the pledged amount for the IDPs and the financial assistance committed in Tokyo to meet Pakistan's immediate needs.

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