Policy rethink: Government to redraw key pacts with US

Published: December 14, 2011

PM Gilani addressing a press conference at the Foreign office. Also seen in the picture are FM Hina Rabbani Khar, and Salman Bashir, soon to be Pakistan's High Commissioner in India. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan will renegotiate two key agreements signed with the United States and its Western allies nine years ago as part of a wider policy review following last month’s deadly Nato air raids on Pakistani border posts.

The agreements – both signed in 2002 during former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s regime to allow transit of supplies and logistics support for the US-led Nato forces – were considered crucial for the decade-long battle against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

The decision to reconfigure those arrangements was taken at the end of a two-day envoys’ conference convened to revisit the country’s foreign policy against the backdrop of a deadly Nato incursion.

The conference was attended by over two dozen ambassadors and high commissioners serving in key world capitals.

A senior foreign ministry official said that a set of recommendations had been finalised for the government to re-evaluate and review cooperation with the US and Nato.

Recommendations include fresh agreements for Nato supplies and logistics support to the US, minimising the ‘CIA footprint’ in the country, seeking an honourable return of Afghan refugees and pursuing efforts to stabilise Afghanistan irrespective of Washington’s approach, according to the official, who was part of the consultations.

The conference also decided to seek a formal public apology from the US over the November 26 incident and firm guarantees that there would be no violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty in the future, added the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The envoys, according to the participant, were of the view that the US appears to be uninterested in the Afghan reconciliation process.

However, irrespective of Washington’s approach, Islamabad must redouble its efforts to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, he added.

The conference recommended that the government reach out to Britain, Germany and other European countries, which have been making efforts to seek a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict.

The diplomats also urged the government to ensure that over 3.5 million Afghan refugees, still living in Pakistan, are repatriated to their homeland.

There are indications that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) may ask Pakistan to extend the repatriation of Afghan refugees’ beyond the 2012 deadline.

Delegates at the conference believe that the repatriation of Afghan refugees is necessary because, according to the government assessment 95 per cent terrorist attacks in Pakistan are traced back to the refugee camps.

The recommendations will now be presented before the parliamentary committee on national security, which has been mandated to redraft terms of engagements with the US. The concluding session of the conference was chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who described the Nato attack as a “huge setback to prospects of the much-needed cooperation among the important stakeholders.”

“Our cooperation with US/Nato/Isaf was based on respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Under no circumstances, could we accept flagrant transgression of our territorial frontiers. This remains our baseline and there can be no compromise on sovereignty, dignity and national honour,” Gilani said.

“We expect the US/Nato/Isaf inquiry that is being undertaken to reveal all the facts and provide answers to questions that our own investigations have raised,” he said.

Gilani maintained that recommendations finalised by the foreign ministry will be considered by a joint sitting of parliament.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office said, Sherry Rehman, ambassador-designate to the US, presented the recommendations furnished by the envoys’ conference to the prime minister.

(Read: Between ‘ghairat’ and strategy)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • frank
    Dec 14, 2011 - 6:23AM

    The people of Pakistan want the abrogation not the ‘renegotiation’ of all agreements with the American enemy. Let them fight their own damn wars from now on.

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  • Amjad
    Dec 14, 2011 - 6:56AM

    It’s good that the Pakistani nation is finally acting in its own interests. All nations do. There is no need for foreign aid but they should levy a fair tax on transported goods the way the Central Asians and Russia charges foreign forces who use their facility. Moreover all Afghani refugees should be deported back to Afghanistan since they are responsible for much of the criminality in Pakistan. If the West wants Pakistan to keep them, Pakistan should send them to Western countries where they can join all the other Afghani asylum seekers who live mostly on state khayrat called welfare. By shipping the Afghanis away, the government would save money too.

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  • First drink, don't think
    Dec 14, 2011 - 7:00AM

    Much appreciated. :)

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  • bangash
    Dec 14, 2011 - 7:02AM

    Since aid is not curtailed these bureaucrats will need to invent new ways to make money, hence the NATO supply line.

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 14, 2011 - 8:06AM

    This is first step towards Real, True, Principled and Transparent diplomacy. Before this country of 180 million was run through personal rapport and connections.

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  • American Muse
    Dec 14, 2011 - 9:32AM

    This meeting was held merely to formalize Pakistan’s public capitulation to the United States.

    Once slaves – slaves forever!

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  • Mohammad Ali Sidiqqui
    Dec 14, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Relations with US government should be based on mutual respect and keeping in view of sovereignty of Pakistan.

    Pakistan is not going to take any more dictation from US. Let it be clear on US that we as a Pakistani Nation reject all actions in which our integrity and sovereignty is jeopardize.

    US should forget of any more drone attacks. Any eventuality will be dealt with iron hand and drone should be shot at the moment it enters in Pakistan’s airspace.

    Gone are the old days on which Pakistan use to say “yes” on every US proposal.

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 14, 2011 - 11:11AM

    I cant see a solid step to stop the involvement of Pakistan in Afghan War .
    first make ourselves stronger then we do think about improving situations in neighbouring countries .
    because of Afghanistan we earned a very bad name ,the world still don’t consider the sacrifices and destruction we got because of Afghan war .
    The envoys are deviating from the basic fact that “PAKISTANI PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE WITH HONOUR”
    Friendship possible only on the basis of “MUTUAL RESPECT” if no then we rather prefer living alone , WE DON ‘ T NEED SUCH “FRIENDS”

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  • Khattak
    Dec 14, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Lets hope there is some policy rethink on terrorist sancturies in accordance with UN Charter. Otherwise, people of Pakistan will suffer. It is impossible to live in isolation let alone sovereignity & respect.

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  • pakistani
    Dec 14, 2011 - 2:42PM

    @Pakistani:

    Good point

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