ISLAMABAD / WASHINGTON: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) has recommended that Pakistan should demand an unconditional apology from the United States for the Nato attack on Salala check post which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26, 2011.
PCNS Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani, reading the recommendations during a joint session of Parliament on Tuesday, stated that the attack was a “breach of international law and constitutes blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The statement added that the Pakistani government should not only seek an apology but those behind the attack must also be brought to justice.
“Pakistan should be given assurances that such attack or any other attack impinging on Pakistan’s sovereignty will not reoccur and the Nato, ISAF, US will take effective measures to avoid any such measures.”
The committee also said that it wants the US to put a stop to drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
It also recommends that there should be transparency on the number of foreign intelligence operators in Pakistan and prior permission be awarded and says no covert operations will be tolerated inside the country.
The United States must review its footsteps in Pakistan which means the cessation of US drone strikes inside the territorial borders of Pakistan, (ii) no hot pursuit of boots on Pakistani territory, (iii) the activity of foreign private security contractors must be transparent and subject to Pakistani law. It needs to realise that drones are counter-productive, cause loss of valuable lives and property, radicalises the local population, create support for terrorists and fuel anti-US sentiments.
The statement also said that at least 50% of Nato containers passing through Pakistan may be handled through Pakistan Railways and added: “Any consideration of the reopening of Nato, ISAF, US containers must be contingent on a thorough revision of terms and conditions of the agreement including regulation and control on movement of goods.”
The statement said: “Taxes and other charges must be levied on all goods imported in or transmitting through Pakistan for the use of infrastructure and to compensate for its deterioration.”
The bicameral parliamentary committee was constituted to review terms of engagement with the US before going for normalisation of bilateral ties.
The revised terms of engagements also stated that all agreements including military cooperation and logistics will be circulated to the foreign ministry and concerned authorities. “All agreements will be vetted by the Ministry of Law and Justice and parliamentary affair.”
Relationships with the USA should be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, for independence and territorial integrity for each other.
The report emphasises that Pakistan’s nuclear program and assets including its safety and security cannot be compromised. “The US-Indo civil nuclear agreement has significantly altered the strategic balance in the region, therefore, Pakistan should seek from the US and others a similar treatment.”
It said that the strategic position of Pakistan regarding India on the subject of FMCT must not be compromised and this principle be kept in view in negotiations on this matter.
The report also reaffirms Pakistan’s commitment to the elimination of terrorism and combating extremism in pursuance of its national interest.
‘Relationship with Pakistan extremely important’
Hours after the parliamentary committee’s recommendations on US-Pakistan relations were presented in parliament, the US Department of Defense termed its relationship with Pakistan as extremely important.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, DoD spokesperson Captain John Kirby said, “Our relationship with Pakistan remains extremely important to us. We have been patiently respecting the Pakistani government’s process and will continue to do so. The parliamentary debate opened today and is still ongoing, so we’ll refrain from commenting on any particular reports until that process has completed.”