ISLAMABAD: After months of indecision, the government of Pakistan formally recognised Libya’s new government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), on Thursday in the wake Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s death.
“We recognise both the state and the government of Libya as instituted by the NTC and are working with the government of Libya,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Tehmina Janjua here on Thursday at her weekly briefing.
Islamabad accorded the formal recognition to the new Libyan government just days after Qaddafi was killed by Nato-backed rebels, marking the end of the autocrat’s 42 years in power.
Initially, the government of Pakistan had been reluctant to recognise the NTC due to reservations over Nato’s participation in the removal of the Qaddafi regime, coupled with the fact that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has had longstanding ties with the Libyan strongman.
Furthermore, even after the fall of Tripoli, the government wanted to wait on any decision on formal recognition due to the fluidity of the situation. However, with the death of Qaddafi, the government of Pakistan was left with no other option but to formally recognise the new Libyan government.
Last month, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had indicated that Pakistan would soon recognise the new government in Libya. More recently, the main opposition party, PML-N, also warned the government that over 50,000 Pakistani expatriates would be at risk if there was further delay in recognising the NTC.
The Libyan Embassy in Islamabad, however, had signalled its shift in loyalties much before Pakistan’s formal recognition. On August 25, the Libyan Embassy raised the new NTC flag above its compound in Islamabad.
In reply to a question about the uncertainty surrounding whether Pakistan had granted the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India, the foreign ministry spokesperson said the cabinet had unanimously decided in principle to grant MFN status to India.
“Both sides will have to work together in further engagements by the commerce secretaries,” she added.
Speaking about the conference held in Istanbul on Afghanistan’s future, the foreign ministry spokesperson said Pakistan had fully endorsed the Istanbul Declaration, signed by two dozen countries and representatives of the United Nations, to ensure a smooth security and economic transition in Afghanistan.
The Istanbul conference adopted a broad-ranging document with principles and confidence-building measures which constitute an expression of solidarity and support for Afghanistan, she pointed out.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2011.