Pakistan hopes strikes 'over soon'
Sunday, 7 October, 2001, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK BBC News
Pakistanis march against government support for the US
Pakistan has said it "regrets" that its diplomatic efforts to negotiate with the Taleban regime did not succeed and it hopes the US military strikes on Afghanistan will be over soon.
We regret that diplomatic efforts to convince the Taleban leadership to respond to the international demands did not succeed and now military action has started against the Taleban regime
Pakistan Foreign Ministry
Pakistan's government has given its support to the US war on terror - a government spokesman said the country's airspace had been used in Sunday's attacks.
Reports said Pakistani troops were seen moving to secure the country's border with Afghanistan.
The US State Department said on Sunday Secretary of State Colin Powell would travel to India and Pakistan next week .
Pakistan tried to convince the Taleban to hand over Osama Bin Laden whom the US holds responsible for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.
But there has been popular opposition to the US stance and on Sunday 6,000 people demonstrated against America in the central city of Multan in Punjab province
"We regret that diplomatic efforts to convince the Taleban leadership to respond to the international demands did not succeed and now military action has started against the Taleban regime," a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.
Pakistanis watch TV coverage of the attacks
"Pakistan did whatever it could to convince the Taleban leadership of the gravity of the situation and take the right decisions in the interest of the Afghan people," it said.
The ministry said it hoped the strikes would be "clearly targeted" to achieve the aims of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The statement was released shortly after the president, General Pervez Musharraf, met with senior military commanders to discuss the potential consequences of the US strikes.
"We also hope that the operations will end soon and concerted international effort will be undertaken to promote national reconciliation and help Afghanistan with economic reconstruction," the statement said.
But some religious leaders in Pakistan denounced the strikes and called on Pakistan's Muslims to unite with the Taleban.
"It is the duty of every Muslim to support their brothers in this critical hour," Riaz Durana of the Lahore-based Afghan Defence Council said.
He said they would support the Taleban "physically and morally".
About 6,000 people took to the streets of Multan in Punjab on Sunday chanting "death to America" and calling for a jihad, or holy war.
One of their leaders, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, from the radical Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) party had been put under arrest to prevent him from holding the rally but was later released.
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