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Pakistan Rules Out Offensive Against Militants by Foreign Forces

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says only Pakistan, and not a foreign military, has responsibility for acting against terrorists within the nation's borders.

The comment came a day after reporters asked the top U.S. military official whether U.S. forces have authority to go after al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in Pakistan's tribal areas without Pakistani permission.

Admiral Mike Mullen replied that has "all the authorities" he needs if there is reliable information about the presence of al-Qaida or Taliban leaders.

In other news, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rebuked a top U.S. State Department official for saying Pakistan should focus on terrorism, food prices and power shortages rather than on President Pervez Musharraf.

In comments to reporters Thursday, Sharif said that what Pakistan has to do with "an unconstitutional president" is an internal affair, and there is no need for any foreign advice.

On Wednesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said in Islamabad that Pakistan should focus on issues more important than the future of Mr. Musharraf.

Also Thursday, Britain has pledged $955 million in development aid to Pakistan over the next five years. The aid increase was announced by British Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander during a meeting with officials in Islamabad.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.