Nato supply routes: Washington warns of ‘repercussions’

Published: May 7, 2012

Adds PCNS should review its decision for the benefit of the country. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan and the United States struggle to break the impasse in their troubled relationship, Washington has cautioned Islamabad of ‘multiple repercussions’, if the six-month-long blockade of Nato supplies is not lifted.

The implications include a halt in US assistance for the country’s fragile economy and squeezing the political space available to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party by relying on other political groups, according to officials familiar with the development.

During the meetings Marc Grossman recently had with Pakistani officials, it was obvious that the US was running out of patience,” one official told The Express Tribune, requesting his name not be disclosed.

“A message has been conveyed at the highest level that if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif,” he disclosed. However, his claim could not be independently verified.

The official added that the Obama administration was increasingly concerned over the delay in the reopening of the vital supply routes for foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Last month, the country’s parliament announced new terms of engagement that seek an unconditional apology from the US over the Salala incident. Initially, Washington agreed to accept the demand but due to a delay in the passage of the new recommendations, coupled with domestic compulsions of President Barack Obama, it seems now the US is reluctant to take such a step. A well-informed PPP lawmaker acknowledged that the government was in a fix on how to move forward after the US hardened its stance.

“There is now a growing realisation that it was a mistake and miscalculation to ask parliament to formulate new foreign policy guidelines,” said the lawmaker.

Parliament has taken a tough stance on some of the issues making it difficult for the government to implement, he contended.

The PPP lawmaker also revealed that the delay in the reopening of the Nato supply lines annoyed the US to the extent that it conveyed to the party leadership its options of working with alternate political forces of the country.

Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar on Sunday also hinted at mounting pressure on the government to reopen the supply routes. He told reporters in Lahore that Pakistan could face economic sanctions if it did not unplug the routes.

When approached, the US Embassy denied Washington conveyed any threats to Islamabad. “The UN wants Nato supplies to reopen, the US wants Nato supplies to reopen but that should not be characterised as a threat,” said the embassy spokesperson.

(Read: Reopening the Nato supply route)

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.

Reader Comments (47)

  • Rana Amjad
    May 7, 2012 - 4:45AM

    We have always made wrong decisions & have learned nothing that emotional decisions are disastrous.

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  • Imran Con
    May 7, 2012 - 4:53AM

    “A message has been conveyed at the highest level that if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif,”
    That is way to random to be right. I wouldn’t be surprised if something was said could give them the opportunity to read into it far too much and come to some odd conclusion. But, to openly and bluntly make that comment? It makes no sense. How would relying on Sharif change a thing? That sounds far too dumb to come from anywhere other than a Pakistani official’s reliable paranoid and exaggerating imagination. Furthermore, that PCNS meeting was certainly watched closely by outside groups. Sharif was one of the people trying the most to get support from an anti-US stance.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 7, 2012 - 4:55AM

    Hmmm. A second bit of news on the same subject within 24 hours???? ET what you are stating amounts to a regime change by the US!!! Not that it would be the first time, but are they polishing the brass of the 111 Brigade??? That would be a tell tale sign. But more likely this is posturing by PPP to create a crisis where there is none so that people’s minds are diverted from ex-PM’s conviction. This is Zardari politics. Minister of Defense is less useful than the turd on streets of Islamabad.

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  • Imran
    May 7, 2012 - 5:03AM

    Papa is angry.

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  • Javed Afridi
    May 7, 2012 - 5:11AM

    The idea seems to be the brainchild of the PPP government, which can’t wait to see supply routes opened. Perhaps more anxious than NATA itself.
    I would quote a Tribune story written by a spokesperson for the US State Department in Washington:
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/303963/pentagon-closure-of-nato-supply-routes-has-not-had-significant-impact-on-troops/

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  • Ah
    May 7, 2012 - 5:26AM

    Face the sanctions and stop all support for this evil war

    The people of Pakistan will not allow this slavery to continue

    Stop the drone attacks

    Is this true how they play you guys with Nawaz?

    Imran is our new leader already

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  • Kanwal
    May 7, 2012 - 5:33AM

    Come on Big brother! enough dictation. Chill out and bring the sanctions.

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  • self reliant
    May 7, 2012 - 5:36AM

    USA should not be bullying Pakistan and telling them what to do. It is not their country. So what are the reprecussions? Pakistan does not need help from USA. Besides look at the mess NATO forces have made in Afghanistan and look at what they did in Iraq.

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  • geeko
    May 7, 2012 - 5:48AM

    “A message has been conveyed at the highest level that if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif,” he disclosed. However, his claim could not be independently verified.

    In which sense ?

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  • uninformed
    May 7, 2012 - 6:02AM

    well well well. when democracy does not work for the US, call for change in govt. With defence ministers like this, who needs enemies?

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  • vasan
    May 7, 2012 - 6:03AM

    Do these kind of coersions/threats reduce the pakistani options? Or it makes Pakistan harden its stand?. Only a wise decision will help everyone.

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  • Disco
    May 7, 2012 - 6:03AM

    “A message has been conveyed at the highest level that if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif,”

    NS is a pawn of the US lobby, and also the British lobby (phone call with D. Miliband during APC) as suspected.

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  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 6:16AM

    This is more believable than the earlier story which said US had threatened sanctions.

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  • Sandip
    May 7, 2012 - 6:17AM

    Whatever happened to the great leverage that Pakistan had with regard to NATO supply lines passing through Pakistan? Looks like it has become more of a liability for the Pakistan government. Where are the greats like Mr. Gul, Mr. Hamid, Mr. Qureshi and their likes who used to demand shutting the supply line down at the drop of a hat? Maybe Pakistan should follow their prescriptions and go the whole hog now.

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  • Yaida M
    May 7, 2012 - 6:24AM

    Pakistan is rich. We do not need any aid from anybody. Our all-weather friend and the Arabs will help if we need a bailout. Go away America or we will declare sanctions against you.

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  • Khurram
    May 7, 2012 - 6:34AM

    I think, taking into account the state of our economy, it would be rather a proper recourse for the Government of Pakistan to reopen the NATO Supplies.

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  • Moko
    May 7, 2012 - 7:06AM

    Communication gaps are a big reason for divorces. After 9/11, Pakistan was forced into becoming a partner in the ‘war on terror’. This partnership, like any marriage, meant all kinds of support till both agreed that the war was over. The US does not believe the war is over, but Pakistan would like to believe that it’s part is over. And it has failed to convince the US in a way that a partner should. Usually divorced parties accuse the other of ‘not listening’. Is Pakistan ‘listening’ ?

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  • May 7, 2012 - 7:06AM

    Carrot didn’t work. Now it is time to bully.

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  • naeem khan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:16AM

    The US will depend on other satraps in Pakistan and there are plenty of them, It is the same old story , General Mush succumb to US threats and look where is Pakistan today, there is such a thing to stand your ground. They are killing innocent Pakistani civilians in FATA daily and call it collateral damage, who needs enemies if Pakistan has friends like US. They are not stopping drone attacks and why should Pakistan open the supply routes.By the way PPP might have some chances in next elections but will be trounced if they reopen the routes, Pakistanis should buckle up any way because some very rough future is in stock regardless they reopen the supply lines, The US have no respect for Pakistan’s parliament and they would rather support and deal with dictators then democratic outfits in the developing countries, just look up their record around the world.

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  • H.A. Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:37AM

    Why did it take over 5 months to realise this?.

    Pakistan once again over played it’s cards and now wants a small opening to save face.

    The fact is with US and other donor grants Pakistan will not be able to draw up and present it’s budget in May

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  • Ahsan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:43AM

    The Keynote is – “if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif

    That will be a lot if explanation on NAwaz Sharif’s part i guess :)

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  • May 7, 2012 - 7:44AM

    I want Pakistan to stick to its stand. Pakistan will then find out what its value is really worth in the World economy and even the state of its own economy.

    If such hard talk is issued even before the NATO withdrawal, imagine how strong will it be after 2014. This reinforces my conviction that Pakistan will be sanctioned post-2014 by the US.

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  • Ahsan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:45AM

    We are against NATO supplies, they are fueling violence in our country and the Indo/US backed insurgents in Balochistan.

    If these NATO supplies are opened, Tsunami will stop them!!!

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  • May 7, 2012 - 7:55AM

    This news looks like a feeler of the things to unfold in the future. America, using carrot and stick policy in this case. On the one side they have started bombing with drones our FATA area to smithereens and on the other side, may be some senior official is sent to Pakistan for offering condolences on the killings of Pakistani soldiers at Salala army post.
    Whatever, may happen, one thing is for sure, and that Pakistan should forget that President Obama will ever apologize on this issue with Pakistan.
    Take it or leave it. As they say “Eat more sugar cane”.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 7, 2012 - 7:57AM

    “There is now a growing realisation
    that it was a mistake and
    miscalculation to ask parliament to
    formulate new foreign policy
    guidelines”

    Ya think? Didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out — maybe it’s time to fire all the experts who thought it was a great idea?

    Recommend

  • Jadugar
    May 7, 2012 - 8:02AM

    If the defence minister cannot handle the pressure from that US and stand up for Pakistan defence, he should start sending out his resume. Sometime running a country is not bed of roses as you may have thought it would be.

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  • ashok
    May 7, 2012 - 8:06AM

    The GIANT ATM is about to be closed….sooner than 2014.

    Khaki should try some other excuse. Say, the 200 plus toys are in danger of being lost.

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    May 7, 2012 - 8:07AM

    “A message has been conveyed at the highest level that if the government cannot take a decision regarding Nato supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz Sharif,” he disclosed. However, his claim could not be independently verified”

    Above statement tells it all. Looks like a political ploy to hit Mr Sharif and nothing more..

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    May 7, 2012 - 8:23AM

    So the policy of blocking routes was based on the assumption that USA would never get angry ? So now that US is getting angry so they are going to change the policy ? Is this a joke or considered policy ? Someone please explain it for me.

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  • Vanjara
    May 7, 2012 - 8:30AM

    “A message has been conveyed at the
    highest level that if the government
    cannot take a decision regarding Nato
    supplies, the US will rely on Nawaz
    Sharif

    PML-N supporters please take note.

    Recommend

  • Godaveri
    May 7, 2012 - 8:36AM

    Pakistan has to bend over backwards literally if they need American aid, best friend China is not going to fund you.

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  • May 7, 2012 - 8:57AM

    Sanctions will send the rupee tumbling to 200 per dollar. Sanctions will cause a complete collapse of the economy. But that is to be expected. We must receive our punishment for supporting the Americans. We can take it now or after 2014. The choice is ours.

    Recommend

  • Nitin
    May 7, 2012 - 9:13AM

    @Billoo Bhaya:
    Your comment is so funny – turd on the streets of Islamabad. Can’t stop laughing.

    Recommend

  • Rizwan
    May 7, 2012 - 9:21AM

    US has to apologize first ,and its most difficult at this time for US to impose sanctions .Things for US are not working in Afghanistan .If Pakistan is able to prolong the blockade US will accept all the requests made by Paksitan .Thats is what US has been doing all over the world .

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  • vickram
    May 7, 2012 - 9:38AM

    We don’t need US aid. US needs Pak more than Pak needs US. Pak is fighting the American War and this is not our own war. Pak has got unique geographical position which makes it the most invaluable country in the whole world. Pak has the best ally in China who will bail it out of all problems. Pak’s economy is so strong that it will manage through all the sanctions. If the Kashmir problem is solved, all the terrorism will stop.

    Just summing up the comments that are going to pour from the patriotic people of Denialistan !

    Recommend

  • ahmer
    May 7, 2012 - 9:49AM

    @Yaida M

    “Pakistan is rich. We do not need any aid from anybody. Our all-weather friend and the Arabs will help if we need a bailout. Go away America or we will declare sanctions against you.”

    bwa..hahahahahahahahahaha, pls stop, my sides are bursting hahahahaha

    Pls grow up.

    Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    May 7, 2012 - 10:17AM

    Show us the repercussions USA. lets see what you got.

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  • Syed Khalil Ullah
    May 7, 2012 - 10:20AM

    Pakistan has faced sanctions many time and found they do nothing. At this time US is not in position do do any thing more then treating even they can not impose any sanction as they need to go back from Afghanistan.They dint do anything against Iran except treating as Iran is standing hard on its dessication same they will do in case of Pakistan if we do same.

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  • May 7, 2012 - 10:30AM

    I have read somewhere that there was an agreement signed between Afghanistan and Iran about opening of Charbagh sea-port and India is investing in developing that port. This will take care of Nato supplies through Iran sea-port to Afghanistan and to Central Asian countries.

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  • biryani
    May 7, 2012 - 11:58AM

    replace nawaz sharif with Imran Khan …. U.S will get what she wants….

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  • Ahmer Ali
    May 7, 2012 - 1:52PM

    If Pakistan will face “multiple repercussion” then you “US’ leaders” even can’t think what will happen to US’ and NATO’s forces in Afghanistan?Come on and do whatever you want and then see what we shall do???????And always remember you are in Afghanistan we are not in USA.

    Recommend

  • Jpy
    May 7, 2012 - 2:07PM

    @Yaida M:
    Your all weather friend China & the Arabs will not bulge an inch without the nod from unlce Sam

    Recommend

  • Shyam
    May 7, 2012 - 2:46PM

    @RizwanTKhan

    Show us the repercussions USA. lets see what you got.

    Be careful what you wish for, it might come true

    Recommend

  • Ah
    May 7, 2012 - 3:56PM

    Iran had done great with sanctions
    They have become an independent power house

    Bringing the sanctions

    The future of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran is of independence

    Bring on the sanctions I say

    Bring it on !!
    PaK needs to close all forms of involvement in this evil war in Afghanistan

    Bring on the sanctions

    Recommend

  • Ah
    May 7, 2012 - 4:02PM

    @jpy

    China-PaK ties are very strong

    Anyway , Iran has become an independent and respected nation with sanctions

    Iran Pakistan pipeline for independence of the region

    Hear and read clearly

    INDEPENDENCE

    Recommend

  • hassan ali
    May 7, 2012 - 6:43PM

    go pak go all the way to banckrupcy

    Recommend

  • May 7, 2012 - 10:53PM

    @Ah:
    Iran withstood sanctions because of its enormous oils reserves and friendship with its neighbours, whereas Pakistan has nothing except terrorists of different faiths and sects, and there is nothing to offer or survive with an enemy on the east, on the west, and a sea on south to drown. Do we expect that the US and European countries keep quite while our strategic assets are let loose on them from Pakistan soil. We are creating a situation for US and her friends to be desperate Recommend

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