Resumption of ties?: ‘Pakistan to end NATO blockade soon’

Published: January 20, 2012

Security official says tariffs will be imposed to raise funds for the state to fight homegrown militants. PHOTO: FILE/ AFP

ISLAMABAD: After an almost two-month long impasse with the United States, following the cross-border Nato airstrikes in Salala, it is believed that Islamabad is inching towards mending severed ties with its disenchanted ally, and set to resume full spectrum of bilateral ties with the US.

The development was also followed by media reports that Pakistan expects to re-open supply routes to Nato forces in Afghanistan soon. While a foreign ministry spokesperson described such reports as speculative, diplomatic sources have confirmed that Islamabad has given the nod for the resumption of Nato supplies once parliament approves new terms of engagements with the US.

An unnamed senior security official told Reuters that Pakistan expects to re-open supply routes to Nato forces in Afghanistan but will impose tariffs. The official said the fees were designed to both, express continued anger over the Nov 26 attack and raise funds for the state to fight homegrown Taliban militants blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the country.

“The tariffs will cover everything from the port to security to roads, which after all belong to Pakistan,” the security official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.

No date was given for reopening the supply routes. Pakistan’s trade ministry was working out details of the tariffs, said the official. Asked if the re-opening was a sign that the crisis in relations could be tackled, the official said there was some way to go before normalcy was possible.

The two land routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan account for just under a third of all cargo that the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) ships into Afghanistan.

‘Conveniently on hold’

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview given to Reuters, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar dispelled any immediate resumption of ties between the allies before the parliamentary review of ties underway is complete.

“Now that the re-evaluation process is underway as we speak, so till the time that that re-evaluation process in not complete, we cannot start the re-engagement,” Khar said.

However, the foreign minister said the proposals for the tenor and rules for relations with the United States could be out within days.

“We are trying to push for it as we speak,” Khar said. “I know that they have completed their recommendations and we will look for an appropriate day to hold the joint session of parliament. The recommendations could come out in days.”

The foreign minister also went on to add that the US needs to be patient and gain a greater understanding of the region’s complexities before acting, adding that pressure would only hurt efforts to pacify Afghanistan.

“‘Push’ is never wise. I think that every country must be allowed to develop their own strategy and their own timing,” said a confident Khar, adding that ties were conveniently on hold for now.

Khar did strike a positive note, stressing the long partnership was vital for the two countries.

“I think this will also give us the ability, if we play it right, to strengthen the partnership and to make it much, much more effective,” she said.

“Let me categorically say that we consider our relations and our relationship with the US to be an extremely important one.”

Grossman snub

Earlier in the week, Islamabad declined to host US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman, who is on a tour of the region to discuss Afghan reconciliation process.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit, however, moved to play down the apparent snub on Thursday.

“As far as Mr. Grossman’s visit, we want this visit to be productive and result-oriented. It is, therefore, important that he visits Pakistan after we have completed our homework,” Basit told reporters at the weekly briefing, adding that Pakistan was looking forward to re-engaging with the US on issues of mutual interest and importance.

It is believed that Pakistan’s move to snub Grossman had more to do with the domestic compulsion as the government does not want to convey any mixed messages to the public by hosting a US official at a time when the review of ties is yet to be finalised.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM REUTERS)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • sam
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:05PM

    “there was still some way to go before normalcy was possible.” keep playing

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  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:11PM

    By the way, who is this senior security official?

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  • John
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:20PM

    Money can buy anything – period.

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  • ashok sai
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:38PM

    Client states have no resisting power, they need a master to function be it US or China.

    Recommend

  • zzzz
    Jan 19, 2012 - 2:39PM

    Pour money USA , one day Pak will be handed over to you. i thinks its already…

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  • Azam Mirza
    Jan 19, 2012 - 3:00PM

    Being a Pakistani I condemn …

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  • Roflcopter
    Jan 19, 2012 - 3:33PM

    This was bound to happen after continuous begging from US. It’s good that US will have to pay for these routes now.

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  • Zafar
    Jan 19, 2012 - 3:34PM

    Sherry Rehman met Mr. Obama yesterday to present her credentials, and the and the first thing that came out the next day is that Pakistan is re-opening NATO supply routes. WOW that was an efficient meeting indeed.

    Mr. Obama gave ample time of 10 mins to the new ambassador of its most important ally in WoT, of which perhaps 9 minutes were well spent bashing the honorable ambassador to open the routes or head back home.

    Pakistan is a sovereign nation indeed.

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  • Waqas Butt
    Jan 19, 2012 - 3:44PM

    I think Pakistan should open land routes but should impose such taxes that land routes become more expensive than arial routes for USA. Then they themselves will not use our land for their dirty games. And one more thing Drones should never be allowed again to kill innocent Pakistanis.

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  • K B Kale
    Jan 19, 2012 - 3:45PM

    Why? What happened?

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  • vasan
    Jan 19, 2012 - 4:20PM

    Wouldnt be surprised if the routes are offered at a much more concessional price than before. Anything can happen in Pakistan.

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  • Roflcopter
    Jan 19, 2012 - 4:46PM

    @Vasan, there was no price before…but nice try

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  • Muddasir
    Jan 19, 2012 - 5:25PM

    I think we must make a deal in favour of Pakistan before re-open land routes for Nato supplies.

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  • Jan 19, 2012 - 5:38PM

    re-opening is first step towards goodness —–

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  • Bobola
    Jan 19, 2012 - 6:42PM

    @Waqas Butt:
    What about guilty Pakistanis?

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:21PM

    @vasan Yes anything can happen in Pakistan not in India where there is no corruption, no problems, no issues, it is a harmonious land of milk and honey!

    Recommend

  • ABC
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:24PM

    @Waqas Butt:
    Its hard to say who is innocent and who’s guilty. Last kill was pakistans most wanted TTP head. Alas our nation is so occupied with memo and PM appearing in court that it did not get the deserved coverage.

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  • Akhtar
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:24PM

    If Aid is required why not ask China, why US? After chest thumping, we are once again on their feet? Where is Sovereignity that we all howled! Shame! This is why the whole world treats us like dirt! We were even complaining in front of UN, now will all nations won’t even respect us. The drones have already started droning & we are not even complaining.

    This is truly demoralizing & utterly shameful. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:52PM

    This article hasn’t appeared on any of the large international news outlets yet — makes you wonder whether the deal has really been finalized. At any rate — even if a deal has been done I suspect the volume of NATO supplies using Pakistan will be dramatically diminished. Similar to a buyer who no longer wants to rely on Pakistan’s textile industry because of power outages the people in NATO want a dependable supply source and Pakistan doesn’t fit that bill. Yeah it might cost more money to use other transit routes but in case you haven’t noticed American’s seem to have a never ending supply of money when it comes to funding wars.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:58PM

    @Zafar:
    {Mr. Obama gave ample time of 10 mins to the new ambassador of its most important ally in WoT, of which perhaps 9 minutes were well spent bashing the honorable ambassador to open the routes or head back home}

    Beautifully said. She is not a hard nose career diplomat. Must be in awe and willing not to sabotage her chances of long stay in USA. Mind you I deeply respect her for her liberal / democratic credentials but thats another story.

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 19, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @Akhtar:
    SO, you say that “If Aid is required why not ask China, why US?”

    WOW, lets get the BEGGING BOWL out again.

    With near the lowest tax to GDP ratio in the world, lets not insult the Pakistani Rich in the Agriculture Sector by asking/telling them to pay taxes since they pay NOTHING now!

    Other countries are asking why they should ask their own taxpayers to pay for Pakistan when the wealthiest Pakistanis Pay Nothing! Recommend

  • Jan 19, 2012 - 11:14PM

    We can easily cling to the resentment that arose from the Salala incident, and refuse to move on. It is no secret that the relationship between our nations came nearly to a screeching halt and that the tragic incident cast a shadow of doubt over our future. We would not think about downplaying the seriousness of that incident. But we do hope and wish to see the region succeed against terrorism. Therefore, it is imperative that we ensure that the past mistakes are not repeated and our important alliance in the WOT is not jeopardized. Our governments are working hard to improve our communication and coordination. We are hopeful of eliminating all possibilities that led us to the regrettable Salala incident. We are confident that our resilience against terrorism and wish to stabilize the region would prevail once again. We welcome any such move that would improve our partnership, and bring us closer in terms of continuing our common mission.

    Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jan 19, 2012 - 11:56PM

    @US Centom, You wish to stabilize the region? nice joke….you do know you’re the biggest contributor to the destabilization of this region, right?Recommend

  • soccersquash
    Jan 20, 2012 - 4:36AM

    @Roflcopter:
    It’s you and not the US. Stop depriving the masses by collecting enough taxes and providing folks the guarantee of a secure job and three meals. What a model idea! Please remember, when you point one fingure at some one else; three are pointed to your own self!

    Recommend

  • Amir
    Jan 20, 2012 - 6:32AM

    @US Centcom:
    Sir with all due respect, stop proxy war in afghanistanm, have a sincere effort in bringing peace to afghans, they had enough from russia and now you guys, stop drone attacks, stop civilian casualities which are the result of you trying to target one or two talibans and kill 100 civilians in the process. The politically correct statement of yours sounds really pleasing to ears but its far from truth. American people might buy your statements but not the people of this region who are taking a direct brunt of your military adventures.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Jan 20, 2012 - 6:52AM

    More money for the generals. Thank you USA for dollars, and for Mansoor Ijaz to keep the civil government down so it can’t hold Military to accounts.

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  • Gabriel khan
    Jan 20, 2012 - 9:29AM

    @US CENTCOM,

    When was the last time you easily let go of any american soldier death in afghan war?Would you down play if Pakistanis shoot one of your aircraft down from the skies? US needs to differentiate between the terrorists and allies and only then should she expect co-operation and support from allies. Salala incident as analysed by our military generals was an act of agression and intentional manslaughter of an ally in WOT, My apologies but your comments above are inconsiderate and lack sincerity.

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  • vasan
    Jan 20, 2012 - 9:35AM

    Imran Mohammed : You missed my point. Raking up an issue and public emotion and then closing it off once the monetary deal is reached, is typical of Pakistan rather Pakistani establishment. RD issue is one such recent issue of this type. India doesnt figure in the list of countries working on this type of logic. Other points you have mentioned are common for most of the third world countries, nothing to lament against India or Pakistan..

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 20, 2012 - 11:03AM

    @Amir:

    When will PAK stop being a base for terrorism?

    Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Jan 20, 2012 - 11:07AM

    @Gabriel khan:

    For the majority of Americans I believe you are correct in they need to differentiate between terrorits and allies. They currently believe PAK is not an ally. It appears with each passing day its support of terrorism becomes clearer.

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  • John B
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Why should it surprise anyone?

    PAK politics is playing this game for domestic audience. By spring, the supply route will be fully opened. As a prelude to this drones are already in the air.

    Tax the shipment, less aid from US and military aid. Except the tax money won’t go into the PAK exchequer.

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  • gabriel khan
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:30PM

    @Harry Stone:
    i think we have to start from the top, first we need to establish the definition of terrorist, if you think pakistan army is harbouring terrorists then you have bigger problems then you think, given that afghanistan is a graveyard of super powers you want to have a regular army join the ranks of talibans?? choose your battles carefully and think logically, you cant even sustain your supply lines, its not only what the media and politicians tell you in the new you read every morning over a cup of coffee.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:00PM

    @centcom
    Yes we could move on if only you had the decency to apologize for inaccurate intelligence.
    But I don’t remember such a response anywhere in the world.How can a super power make a mistake? You are trapped in a super sized ego. Everything else is secondary.Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Jan 21, 2012 - 1:51AM

    @gabriel khan:

    PAK is a supporter of terrorism…. they are considered assets because your military is a failure. Do I believe there are elements within the military/isi that provide support to terrorists? I do and if you are honest so do you.

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  • Observer
    Jan 21, 2012 - 10:46AM

    @Akhtar:

    “If Aid is required why not ask China, why US? “

    It sounds like you have not kept up-to-date with international relationships. Chinese are not like Americans when it comes to dole-out free cash. Chinese never offer freebies. Even the Indian have donated more money to Pakistan for natural disasters than China.

    Recommend

  • Bakir
    Jan 21, 2012 - 12:11PM

    @Harry Stone:
    and US military is a big success? vietnam, afghanistan etc where US army goes they just seem more miserable then ever. Lets see how US deals with afghanistan without pakistan.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jan 21, 2012 - 1:25PM

    @Harry Stone:

    {PAK is a supporter of terrorism…. …..I believe there are elements within the military/isi that provide support to terrorists}

    You deserve a small lesson in history. The terrorist activities of CIA and CIA sponsored militias / armed gangs in overseas countries are legion. Sometimes they were rogue agents and sometimes secretly supported by part of USA establishment. But nobody accused USA for being a supporter of terrorism. You should avoid sweeping statements. Supporting terrorist outfits for strategic purposes is understanable (though not commendable) but getting more numbers of ISI / Military personnel killled at their hands compared to state enemies killed by the supposed strategic assets is beyond comprehension.
    Maybe our security agencies are deliberately getting Airforce / Army / Naval Headquarters attacked and allowing massacre of captured soldiers to establish an alibi. That would though stretch the limits of increduility to a breaking point and insult the memory of thousands of dead soldiers in the war on terror. IF BY CHANCE THERE ARE FOUND TO BE ARMED AL QAIDA ACTIVISTS IN A REMOTE CITY / AREA OF USA, WOULD YOU CONTEMPLATE BOMBING THE WHOLE NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH RELATED HUGE COLLATERAL DAMAGE. Your Govt. wont survive a single day in office. BUT THATS EXACTLY WHAT WE DID UNFORTUNATELY AND STILL GET BLAMED FOR SUPPORTING TERRORISTS.

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