ISLAMABAD: After weeks of avoiding a stance on the Libyan situation, Pakistan is finally gearing up to officially recognise the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the sole representative of the Libyan people.
The decision comes after the Libyan mission in Islamabad hoisted the rebel flag on August 25, without proper authorisation, followed by a switch of loyalties from the Qaddafi-appointed ambassador in Islamabad, The Express Tribune learnt. An official announcement by the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs is expected soon, the source added.
“Pakistan is with the people of Libya,” the source said while explaining Islamabad’s policy on the Libyan crisis.
On August 25, the Libyan envoy in Islamabad, Ibrahim al Ebad, removed the green coloured flag, associated with the Qaddafi regime, and hoisted the de facto flag of Libya, used by the National Transitional Council at the Libyan embassy in Islamabad. According to official sources, however, the Libyan ambassador hoisted the new flag without the prior approval of the Pakistani government.
“It was mandatory for the Libyan ambassador to obtain prior permission from Islamabad to hoist the new flag of his country,” an official told The Express Tribune while requesting anonymity.
Furthermore, Ebad informed the foreign ministry about his decision to recognise the NTC as the only ‘true and legitimate authority in Libya’ and them to follow suit. The ambassador also confirmed that his fellow Libyan diplomats in Islamabad have disassociated themselves from the Qaddafi administration and pledged their loyalties to the NTC.
Over 75 countries, including Russia, have recognised the NTC as the sole representative of the Libyan people. However, Libyan ambassadors and diplomats in India and Turkey have split up into pro and anti-Qaddafi camps.
Al Ebad and other Libyan diplomats had been active in seeking Pakistan’s support for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi until August 21, however after the fall of Tripoli at the hands of the rebels, they decided to dump the embattled Libyan leader in a state of haste, another official said on the condition of anonymity. There was also a sense of fear among Libyan diplomats that Pakistan might hand them over to the United States, as Qaddafi loyalists, after the NTC established its authority in Libya, the source added.
The Pakistani diplomatic mission in Tripoli, in a recent report, said that the NTC controls 95 per cent of the country, while Qaddafi loyalists were holding their control over the remaining 5 per cent. The report added that a majority of the 140 tribes representing Libyans had also recognised the NTC.
Furthermore, most of Libya’s African neighbours, except Algeria, have recognised the NTC. Iran and Saudi Arabia have not recognised the NTC as of yet but the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had accorded recognition to the new administration of Tripoli.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2011.