Pakistan to allow only non-lethal Nato supplies

ISLAMABAD - The parliament has unanimously adopted a resolution giving a green signal for resumption of non-lethal Nato supplies but recommended to the government not to let Pakistan serve as conduit of arms to Afghanistan.

By Afzal Khan

Published: Sun 15 Apr 2012, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Wed 12 Feb 2020, 3:29 PM

The resolution was based on a 40-point policy guidelines worked out by the bipartisan Parliamentary Committee on National Security for country’s strategic priorities and reshaping terms of engagement with the United States.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured the House that his government would implement its “landmark guidelines in letter and spirit”.
“Pakistani territory, including its airspace, shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan,” said the committee’s revised report, which dropped clauses of a previous report containing conditions for resuming transportation of supplies through Pakistani land routes for US forces, Nato and a Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, effectively leaving the matter to administrative decisions of the Pakistani government.
The panel called for an ‘immediate cessation’ of US drone attacks aimed at suspected militant hideouts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and sought apology for last November’s Nato attack on Pakistani border post that killed 24 troops. But it did not make them a precondition for allowing resumption of Nato supplies.
Reaffirming commitment to the elimination of terrorism and combating extremism in pursuance of its national interest, the resolution said that Pakistani territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries and all foreign fighters, if found, shall be expelled. Likewise, Pakistan does not expect the soil of other countries to be used against it.
The consensus followed some recent political and diplomatic contacts behind the scenes and more than three weeks of haggling.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman had then voiced ‘serious reservations’ about the report and refused participation of their parties in the debate even though the document was signed by their representatives on the committee.
But those hard positions, including a Taleban-like threat by the JUI-F leader to forcibly obstruct Nato supplies, seemed to have melted down after a phone contact between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, and separate meetings of the JUI-F chief with President Asif Ali Zardari and US ambassador Cameron Munter, who had also met Sharif late last month.
“Today Pakistan has crossed another milestone,” the prime minister said before the house voice vote on the report, which he called the first time in Pakistan that “we have brought real and substantive parliamentary oversight and democratic accountability to our foreign and security policy”.
Both Nisar and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in their speeches before him, accused the government of not implementing unanimous resolutions of two previous joint sittings of parliament and sought assurances that it would not be the same this time.
Nisar, in his speech, called the committee consensus as a job only half done and said: “It will become historic only when it is implemented.”
He took pains to emphasise that all parties in the house wanted good relations with the United States but said “it cannot be an imbalanced relationship”.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman appeared a lot mellowed on Thursday though he interpreted the revised report as a virtual termination of Pakistan’s strategic alliance with the United States. “The story of the past has gone and we are beginning a new journey.|
Panel’s chairman Senator Raza Rabbani paid tributes to what he called ‘farsightedness’ of all parties in parliament and their leadership without which, he said, “today’s consensus would have eluded parliament”.
The committee report, called ‘guidelines for revised terms of engagement with US/Nato/Isaf and general foreign policy’ says: Pakistan’s sovereignty shall not be compromised. The relationship with the US should be based on mutual respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other. The US footprint in Pakistan must be reviewed meaning an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan, infiltration into Pakistani territory on any pretext, including hot pursuit and not using Pakistan territory including its airspace for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.

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