NATO supplies: Opposition disowns routes reopening

Published: April 3, 2012

Raza Rabbani says redrafting might go beyond April 5. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

It has now become apparent that no political party wants to own the decision of ending the four-month Nato supply blockade, an unpopular decision, to say the least.

A bipartisan parliamentary panel, which is redrafting a new framework for ties with the United States, has now hit a new roadblock after opposition parties refused to own the decision of lifting Nato supplies for coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Monday’s proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) were also marred by the boycott of the country’s main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), in protest against the recent hike in oil and gas prices by the government.

After a two-day gap, the committee headed by ruling Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Mian Raza Rabbani met here at the Parliament House in an effort to evolve a consensus on the revised terms of engagements with the US.

The committee decided to revisit its earlier recommendations after opposition groups, including the PML-N, voiced reservations on certain proposals. The major area of concern for the opposition is the implementation part, as they are skeptical of the parliamentary review.

One of the changes being contemplated in the original draft was linking the resumption of Nato supplies with the cessation of drone strikes inside the country’s tribal belt. However, it is not clear if the government agrees to such an idea, as Washington has conveyed to Islamabad in categorical terms that there can be no change in their drone policy.

A participant of the meeting told The Express Tribune that Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman suggested excluding the clause related to the resumption of Nato supplies from the revised terms of engagements.

“It is a decision that has to be taken by the executive authority,” Rehman was quoted as saying by a committee member.

“When the government shut down Nato supplies, it did not ask the Parliament. And now the government wants the Parliament to own an unpopular decision,” the JUI-F chief remarked.

The development is likely to set back the parliamentary review.  Raza Rabbani, the committee chairman, acknowledged that the process of redrafting the new terms might go beyond April 5, when the joint session of Parliament was to resume the debate. He said only those proposals would be revisited where certain political parties had reservations.

“The committee is part of the Parliament and has nothing to do with the government,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Harry Stone
    Apr 3, 2012 - 10:52AM

    Too funny! The PAL military because of its hurt pride kicked this decision over to the elected government. The elected government fearing the loss of power during the next election cycle and being backed into a corner by the military kicked it over to parliament. Parliament realizing this really could be a lose lose situation is now ready to kick this back to the government. One can fully expect the government to kick this back to the military.

    The truth is no one in PAK has the courage to say yes open the supply lines and now it seems no one has the courage to say they should remain closed.

    One can only hope they remain closed. This will make a bed that PAK will find difficult to sleep in in the years ahead.

    Somewhere Raymond Davis is smiling.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 3, 2012 - 11:22AM

    aw, they can’t handle the pressure of a big decision and they want to run a country?

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  • Qasim
    Apr 3, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Despite their unpopularity and (staged) sovereignty claims, drone are reaching far-flung areas, which lack GOP’s writ or access. Pragmatically the government should aim to extract commercial value especially debt write-off. Let politicians continue with senseless rhetoric and on this issue.

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  • vasan
    Apr 3, 2012 - 12:10PM

    Pak has run into a dead end all by itself. Too much of hype was created by creating anti US sentiments which has ignited the mulla fire called DeP which is going against the US supply route It is a shame that neither military nor the politicians have the will power or guts to do what is right for the country fearing the backlash which itself is because of the anti US hype created by the Army/Pak govt. Wonder who runs this country called Pakistan.

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  • SalSal
    Apr 3, 2012 - 12:48PM

    @Harry stone
    Nobody is afraid of the army the politicians are afraid of the Americans.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 3, 2012 - 6:12PM

    It has now become apparent that no
    political party wants to own the
    decision of ending the four-month Nato
    supply blockade,

    Which was the expected outcome and exactly why the govt/military turned the issue over to them. The govt and military didn’t have the guts to just come out and say NO to the American’s and loose any chance of further perks. In the long run the American’s will do just fine — can’t say the same for Pakistan.

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  • Apr 3, 2012 - 6:21PM

    our learned law makers used to making headlines on soft issues caught on uneven ground
    where there is no escape from facing reality/wisdom – making a vision so different than the past, dont be afraid man borns once and dies……!

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  • Ansari
    Apr 3, 2012 - 6:46PM

    NATO supplied must not be reopened. I know my LIBERAL EXTREMISTS friends will find hard it to swallow

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