ISLAMABAD: As uncertainty regarding Pakistan-US relations continues to grow, a bipartisan and bicameral parliamentary panel is expected to finalise its recommendations next week to review Islamabad’s ties with Washington in the wake of last month’s Nato airstrikes.
The parliamentary committee on national security prepared on Friday a 30-point-draft-recommendation that envisages a complete overhaul of Pakistan’s diplomatic, economic and military cooperation with the US.
However, before finalising its proposals, the committee has asked Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and the communication minister to brief lawmakers on Tuesday regarding the economic implications of the review.
The finance minister is believed to have opposed some radical changes in the relationship, as according to him, the country’s fragile economy cannot afford more shocks.
At a recently-held envoys’ conference, the finance minister reportedly warned that complete disassociation with the US would be a “blunder” and would have a negative impact on the country’s economy.
Committee Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani told the media after the meeting that a draft containing proposals to rewrite the terms of engagements with the US had been prepared.
Sources told The Express Tribune that a major portion of the draft recommendations include proposals finalised by ambassadors of the selected capitals.
Committee members, including those from rightwing religious parties, have agreed that Pakistan should not seek a breakup in its relationship with the US, however, its future cooperation must be transparent and based on respect for the country’s national interest and sovereignty.
The foreign ministry’s suggestions, which were already tabled before the parliamentary panel, have called for renegotiations of key agreements signed between Pakistan and the US during former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s rule.
The agreements relate to resuming Nato supplies, allowing logistic support and blanket permission to use Pakistan’s air corridor.
A committee member said supplies would now only be resumed under a new arrangement. It is believed that the government will tax Nato supplies passing through Pakistan.
The committee will take another week or so to finalise its recommendations, said the member, requesting not to be named.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2011.
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