Ruling coalition decides in principle to reopen NATO supply route

Published: March 14, 2012

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani attend a meeting of coalition partners at Aiwan-e-Sadr on March 14 2012 with COAS Ashfaque Pervez Kayani, Air Marshall Rao Qamar Suleman and DG ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasaha. PHOTO: PID

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani attend a meeting of coalition partners at Aiwan-e-Sadr on March 14 2012 with COAS Ashfaque Pervez Kayani, Air Marshall Rao Qamar Suleman and DG ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasaha. PHOTO: PID   Kayani made the statement during a meeting the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wedenesday decided in principle to reopen the NATO supply routes.

In a meeting among the country’s top civil and military leadership, the proposal to lift the ban conditionally was discussed and consensus was reached. The meeting was attended by President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Director General ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, the Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman, the foreign secretary and heads of the coalition partners including Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali and MQM deputy convener Farooq Sattar.

The draft proposals would still need to be cleared by a joint session of the Parliament before the four month ban can be effectively lifted.

The US has on a number of occasion expressed its discomfort over the delay in the process, as NATO supplies through other means are much costly than the land routes of Pakistan.

Pakistan had shut land access for US supplies after NATO forces pounded two border checkposts in November 2011. The US adjusted for this by increasing air traffic for cargo and shifting backlogged critical elements through its Central Asia supply routes.

However, the critical fuel supplies, which were efficiently transported through Pakistan, did have an effect on the Afghanistan society which saw inflation rise.

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that they had seen media reports about the re-opening of the NATO supply routes. “As far as we know no final decision has been made. Such a decision awaits parliamentary review which so far hasn’t happened.”

Last week, Opposition Leader in the Parliament, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had warned that the National Assembly will not be allowed to be made a rubber stamp on the issue.

Earlier, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said that the military will follow whatever policy the Parliament takes regarding ties with the United States, Express News reported on Wednesday.

Kayani made the statement during a meeting at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad.

The meeting was briefed about security and foreign policy related issues.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security had been tasked with giving recommendations to review Islamabad’s ties with Washington in the wake of the Nato airstrikes that claimed the lives of 26 Pakistani soldiers.

The fifth joint session of the parliament under the ruling government will be held on March 17 and will be chaired by Zardari. The session is expected to review Pakistan’s troubled ties with the US.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 14, 2012 - 7:12PM

    A very good gesture by General Kiyani.

    Hope this would become permanent policy in Pakistan as directed by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, so as to keep the Constitution alive

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  • Mar 14, 2012 - 7:15PM

    Pakistan Military is hiding behind the civilian govt. Pakistan Military has to renew US relations, but Military does not want to get burned for it , so civilians are easy scapegoats.

    I have one question – when pakistan military uses its air flighters, missiles, heavy guns and helicopters against its own people, why is is not asking pakistan civilians for parliament approval ? What about Balochistan ?

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  • Mar 14, 2012 - 7:17PM

    All dirty Jobs are for the parliament

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  • Gladiators!
    Mar 14, 2012 - 7:38PM

    An eyewash! We all know who make foreign and domestic policy!

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  • Observer Eye
    Mar 14, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Hails to President Zardari, for strengthening Parliament with his democratic policies!

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  • Anonymous
    Mar 14, 2012 - 7:57PM

    Comparatively Pakistan Armed forces are the only institution in Pakistan which is organized and capable, If the foreign policy is left totally to the elected Reps, I can see ourselves as broken country and ruled by outsiders, We cannot let the Baboos ( Nawabs, , Zamindars, etc Waderas ) turn Pakistan back into British Raj days. India was smart to get rid of them in the early of independenceRecommend

  • Muhammad Ismail
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:05PM

    In a country where state-owned organisations are ruined, mostly because of corruption, having any expectations from the ruling alliance is a hoodwink. The present era is, no doubt, the most difficult phase for the country. The people are counting their problems, mostly created by the incapable incumbent government.

    A state has three pillars to stand on – the judiciary, the army and the government. To the masses, they are separate entities. But, in fact, they are members of the same elite class, doing all the things for their self-vested goals. They don’t have time to think about the miseries and agony of the people. All they do is to appease themselves not the masses. Keeping any expectations from them is a waste of time. They are doing all the drama for themselves, not for the masses.

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  • adeel759
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:11PM

    @Anonymous. I think you are wrong, india was smart in getting rid of its Military. For last 65 years it was Military who made all the policies and we know where it led us to. And about your dreams of Military’s Capabilities: God where have you been last year. Salala, Abbot Abad, Mehran, Memogate(A failed attempt to Oust President)………..Recommend

  • Mar 14, 2012 - 8:27PM

    @Muhammad Ismail

    “A state has three pillars to stand on – the judiciary, the army and the government”

    Wrong dude – In any democracy – “A state has three pillars to stand on – legislative, executive, judicial” with Election Commission/Press being fourth arm. Army is part of Government Servants

    But then unlike other countries, in Pakistan, the Army owns a country.

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  • Javed
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:40PM

    The GOP will be used to take all the blame while the Military will go scot free. This has nothing to do with democracy or civilian control. It’s a convenient game that has been played many a times but still very effective as people have a very short memory. We never learn.

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  • peter
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:40PM

    The debate is extremely loaded, its really strange for an outsider to see where does a nation want to go and what satisfies it. The abundantly clear actions of the military leadership and on more than many occasions its submission to the political leadership is quiet an indicator of democracy supportive credentials of the institutions under maximum critique. Here in indonesia, we have had total control of military for around 85 percent of our existence and have successfully transited to democracy, however, all and sundry respect armed forces and factor them in our all major national security policy matters. The chief of defense forces reports directly to the president like chief of intelligence and are equivalents of Federal Ministers.

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  • Zeta
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:48PM

    Military must have a say in such delicate matters. Army is the only most capable organized institution in Pakistan. While the parliament and all the rest are under Matric fail feudal politicians

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  • MarkH
    Mar 14, 2012 - 8:51PM

    It’d sound better if they didn’t selectively act this way. It starts looking more like “we don’t want to go anywhere near this one because there’s a reactionary downside no matter what happens, someone else take the heat.”

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  • Maryam
    Mar 14, 2012 - 9:37PM

    Great Job by the PPP, its coalition partners and most importantly the opposition to keep the democracy in tact. History is being made, and I am sure 3 or 4 smooth transition from one democratic government to the other will strengthen democracy in Pakistan and will ensure prosperity to the people of Pakistan. Well done PPP, You always stayed with the people.

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  • Coolbreeze
    Mar 14, 2012 - 9:41PM

    What to do….! if Military says it will follow Government policy it is criticized: if don’t even then criticized…so, CJ should take suo moto notice & decide himself all happening in Pakistan.

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  • well-wisher
    Mar 14, 2012 - 9:53PM

    Its a clear cut case of military firing from the shoulders of the civilian govt who would be responsible for any misfire or shooting off the target, even though it is well known who controls the foreign and defence policies. Kudos to the Kayani, who has proved to be thinking General unlike his predecessors who used to bulldose the civilians.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 14, 2012 - 10:43PM

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

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  • usmanx
    Mar 14, 2012 - 10:50PM

    I think bala is saying since, baluchistan is a part of pakistan, we are wrong to use soldier there. however, since kashmir is a disputed territory, it is okay for india, to attack it with 700,000 soldiers.

    bala, your wisdom knows no limits.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 14, 2012 - 11:28PM

    @Anonymous:

    That is a very contentious statement to make. of course, it is the fauj line: we are the best and most capable of running the country; the rest are rabble-rousers.

    History shows how disasterous repeated army interventions have been for the country. Please do some reading.

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  • Mar 14, 2012 - 11:58PM

    Topi drama’s ended! Thanks for watching, Pakistanis!

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  • Usman Ayub
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:16AM

    what a shame

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  • Anywhere
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:38AM

    Pakistan government and army are probably the most disgraceful combination in the world

    They bend down on all fours for money , and have no shame

    Kayani is a a joke . Peace had started to return , but these toilet cleaners don’t care

    Attacking “their” own people . What a shameful history that will forever be attached to Pakistan

    No pride

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  • WoW
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @Anonymous:
    Remember the following:. Salala, Abbotabad, Memogate and now Mehrangate………..Are all these doings of the GOP? Housing and providing security to OBL. What next does it want to do?

    Recommend

  • SoundofFury
    Mar 15, 2012 - 12:57AM

    @usmanx:

    Actually Bala was saying that a country should be lead by those elected by the people not by the khakis. He did not mention Balochistan. But thanks for bringing it up anyways, seems like Pakistan has its very own Kashmir now.

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  • Babloo
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:00AM

    Once the US stopped giving toys to the army , the army ran to the civilian administration crying for the routes to be open. Can’t live without those toys from uncle Sam.

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  • WB
    Mar 15, 2012 - 1:24AM

    @Bala: What about Baluchistan? Why don’t you ask the sardars about Baluchistan? Pak army is our army; they should fight anyone who challenges the writ of the State, that’s their duty. When the people of Fata stop supporting and sheltering terrorists that’s when the army will end their operations in Fata. Long live Pak Army!

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  • Adeel
    Mar 15, 2012 - 2:44AM

    I pray to God for early elections so that we can get nijad from this disgraceful government.

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  • Money is kinga
    Mar 15, 2012 - 2:49AM

    @#$%$^ & Co needs money after all. So this was bound to happen. No news here.
    Funny that they did not consult the parliament.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Mar 15, 2012 - 11:57AM

    Conscience sellers.

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