ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, chairing the Cabinet’s Defence Committee meeting in Islamabad stressed that it was detrimental to Pakistan’s interests to remain deadlocked over the Nato supply routes and that it is high time the committee takes a decision, at least in-principle, to conditionally reopen the route. However, the talk failed to make any headway as the committee failed to resolve the issue on Tuesday.
Express News reported on Tuesday, that as the meeting ended, Minister for Information Kamar Zaman Kaira said that consultations were underway on reopening the supply route, and that the DCC will meet again to come to a decision on it.
Sources said, Gilani urged his defence committee to come to some sort of decision on the route, and that the Parliament had not expressly linked the reopening of Nato supply routes to a US apology or stopping drone strikes.
The commitee decided that the Foreign Office will keep talking with the US for a formal apology over the Novermber 26, 2011 attacks, in line with the Parliament’s recommendations, sources said. An official release said thay the DCC authorised relevant personnel in respective ministries and departments conclude ongoing negotiation on the new terms and conditions for resumption of Ground Line of Communications (GLOCs).
A committee was also formed under the Treasury Secretary which would oversee negotiations regarding new conditions, transit fee, and surcharge. It would constitute representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters, and GHQ.
The new terms and conditions should incorporate a clause, as recommended by Parliament, to the effect that only non-lethal cargo would be allowed to transit through Pakistan to Afghanistan.
It was also decided that the military authorities should negotiate fresh border ground rules of Nato-Isaf to ensure that Salala type incidents do not reoccur.
The DCC welcomed the unconditional invitation by the Nato Secretary General to the President to attend the Chicago summit. The DCC fully endorsed the visit of the President for the Summit.
Gilani said that Pakistan wanted the elimination of foreign militants operating within its borders, a demand similar to that of the international community.
With reopening of the Nato supply routes and Pakistan-US relations on the agenda, the DCC meeting, is currently underway in Islamabad.
The meeting is being attended by Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Lieutenant General Shamim Wayne, Federal Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and DG Inter-Service Intelligence Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam.
According to sources, the meeting is held to draw up a work plan for a conditional resumption of Nato supply routes.
The agenda for the meeting stipulates a discussion regarding the Nato invitation extended to President Asif Ali Zardari for the Chicago summit.
The recent meeting with the Isaf chief and US commander has also come under discussion during the DCC meeting.