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Pakistan's PM Gilani hits back at U.S. accusations

Sep 24, 2011, 10:36 a.m.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reviews the troops during a ceremony at the Invalides in Paris May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani used a dinner for aid agencies and foreign diplomats on Saturday to hit back against U.S. assertions that his country's powerful spy agency was linked to militant groups fighting coalition troops in Afghanistan.

"The propaganda blitz against Pakistan is indeed most unfortunate," he said at the dinner, at an Islamabad hotel that was the target of a suicide truck bombing in 2008 that killed at least 54 people. "It vitiates the atmosphere and is counter-productive. It tends to ignore the sacrifices by the people of Pakistan and negates all that we have endeavored to achieve over the last so many years."

Gilani was responding to Senate testimony on Thursday by outgoing chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who said Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate was linked to militant groups who carried out the September 13 attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, which killed 12 people.

"The allegations betray a confusion and policy disarray within the U.S. establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan," Gilani said.

"Blame-game is self-defeating," he added. "We strongly reject assertions of complicity with the Haqqanis or of proxy war."

(Reporting by John Chalmers; Writing by Chris Allbritton; Editing by Tim Pearce)

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