Key decision: Chicago invite further smoothes NATO route

Published: May 16, 2012

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (L) chairing the defence committee meeting with senior cabinet ministers and military chiefs in Islamabad. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: A Nato invitation to Pakistan for a key summit in Chicago hours before a high-level civil-military huddle says it all: The decision to reopen vital land routes for the foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan was a foregone conclusion.

As was expected, the high-powered Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on Tuesday finally gave a go-ahead to lift the almost six-month old blockade on Nato supplies passing through the country.

The supplies were suspended in November last year in reprisal to a Nato air raid on a Pakistani border post that had killed 24 soldiers and strained Pakistan-US relations to the breaking point.

But after weeks of hectic overt and covert negotiations, the two sides have finally struck a deal.

The DCC, the highest coordination forum between the civil and military authorities on issues of national security, authorised relevant ministries/departments to conclude the ongoing negotiations on the new terms and conditions for resumption of GLOCs (Ground Lines of Communications).

According to the official announcement, 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.

Though the statement did not give any timeline, official sources disclosed that the new terms and conditions have already been finalised for the resumption of Nato supplies.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is likely to be formally approved by the federal cabinet, which is due to meet today (Wednesday) in the federal capital.

Interestingly, the government went ahead with its decision without getting an unconditional apology from the US for the deadly US air raid and a halt in the drone attacks inside the tribal regions.

Those two were the main preconditions set by parliament last month for reconfiguring ties with the United States.

In an attempt to tame the possible public backlash, the DCC decided that the foreign ministry would continue to remain engaged with the US on other parliamentary recommendations, including the question of a formal apology and cessation of drone attacks.

It was also decided that the military authorities should negotiate fresh border ground rules of Nato/Isaf to ensure that Salala-like incidents do not recur.

It welcomed the ‘unconditional invitation’ extended by Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to President Asif Zardari to attend the historic gathering of over 60 world leaders to discuss the Afghan endgame.

Earlier, Rasmussen telephoned President Zardari and invited him to the Nato summit being held in Chicago on May 20-21.

Last week, the Nato chief had tacitly linked Pakistan’s participation in the summit with the resumption of supply lines.

However, the presidential spokesperson insisted that the invitation was unconditional and not linked to the opening of Nato supply routes or to any other issue. The DCC endorsed the president’s visit to the summit. The committee also discussed parliament’s call for the expulsion of foreign fighters, if found, on Pakistan’s soil.

(Read: Reopening the supply routes)

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.

Reader Comments (37)

  • Ali syed
    May 16, 2012 - 5:13AM

    Bunch of nutts…its really shameful act by corrupt govt & army top brass.

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  • AnisAqeel
    May 16, 2012 - 5:52AM

    All is well that ends well. Although we got embarrassed by the diplomacy of our elite, we have to review our policy sincerely if we want to support terrorists and like minded people or want to be with the USA. We must be sincere at least with ourselves but we have been deceiving ourselves.

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  • vasan
    May 16, 2012 - 6:09AM

    “However, the presidential spokesperson insisted that the invitation was unconditional and not linked to the opening of Nato supply routes or to any other issue. ”
    yeah , we believe you. To speak the truth and nothing but the truth.

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  • Blithe
    May 16, 2012 - 6:32AM

    A sad day where a convicted
    PM has desperately tried to gain international legitimacy
    at the cost of Pakistan’s legitimacy and sovereignty.

    The army , as pointed out by Ch. Nisar of PML N in a talk show ,
    has also shamelessly given in to each avd every US demand.

    Not even an apology by the US.
    Pakistani walking with their heads low today.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 16, 2012 - 6:37AM

    All the sycophants and delusional on one table. Amazing photo.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    May 16, 2012 - 7:02AM

    Mullahs and Imran are not raising any objection, It means they got some share of Halva.

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  • Hashim Khan
    May 16, 2012 - 7:15AM

    So sad, this is not done. shame on Pakistani government and On all Pakistanis including me :(

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  • gp65
    May 16, 2012 - 7:30AM

    “Interestingly, the government went ahead with its decision without getting an unconditional apology from the US for the deadly US air raid and a halt in the drone attacks inside the tribal regions.”

    First of all, I think this decision WAS in Pakistan’s national interest but it clearly exposes the hypocrisy behind statements like “Parliament is supreme’ and civilians control foreign policy” since the PCNS recommendations were flagrantly violated.

    Also all the arguments used for reopening the routes – were they not equally valid in terms of not closing them in the first place? Who should take the blame for doing that plus inflaming public passion to this point where reversing course had become such a hot potato?

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  • Aarvey,india
    May 16, 2012 - 7:56AM

    Permission granted to NATO. But check out the silence from DPC and Imran khan. It seems obvious to any layman the the ‘ establishment’ has ‘ instructed’ them to lay low. The unfortunate part is that as long as Pakistan military treats it’s politicians and Governments like puppets Pakistan will have a rough future just like it had had in the past. And it’s further evident that the military is feeling the pinch of money trickling down which does not match it’s ‘lofty’ ambitions.

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  • anybodyagree
    May 16, 2012 - 8:17AM

    To be honest nobody stand against USA LONG. . . . !!!!

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  • gp65
    May 16, 2012 - 8:20AM

    Will be interesting to watch how DPC reacts to the DCC decision.

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  • John B
    May 16, 2012 - 8:22AM

    So will PTI stage a nationwide strike as promised by Mr.Qureshi now?

    What did PAK achieve in this NATO supply route closing? -Nothing and lost whatever the goodwill she had enjoyed even after OBL ride.

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  • dv sikka
    May 16, 2012 - 8:49AM

    Ten percent and that too in Dollars, what could be a better deal.

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  • Jaipal dahiya
    May 16, 2012 - 9:01AM

    @Blithe:what can a lamb(pak) do in front of a tiger(usa) only to offer itself to b eaten.never mind no country is in a position to defy usa +western countries even china is helpless

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  • May 16, 2012 - 9:04AM

    it is a lawless country, a convicted person heads ‘meeting’ including generals whose ‘men/officets’ were brutily murdered……………….

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  • vasan
    May 16, 2012 - 10:07AM

    From the deafening silence of DeP and Imrankhan, people can make out on whose instigations they were screaming from the roof top against the NATO routes.

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  • syed Imran
    May 16, 2012 - 10:42AM

    A bunch of incompetants who could not see whats coming there way. Surely the country will doom with this lot on the top.

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  • Tariq Durrani
    May 16, 2012 - 10:48AM

    Notwithstanding the hot and cold blown by us all in Pakistan, in the end beggars are no choosers. We never had a fall back position so we swollow it all. It is but a manifestation of our bankruptcy—economic, poltical and ethical

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  • Ahmer Ali
    May 16, 2012 - 10:56AM

    All the key Pakistan’s eunuchs are going to re-open NATO’s supply routes by selling the Pakistan’s and its nation’s self-respect,honor,grace,dignity,self-reliance and sovereignty because the beggars always don’t have any options to choose their ways independently but they are only bound to obey their masters’ commandments.

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  • Fact finder
    May 16, 2012 - 10:59AM

    Untill and unless its not clear the routes and holes that used by OBL? Pasha is gone who wished to probe seal’s action. Before opening supplies for NATO the coming of OBL should be checked as may be mula umer & zawari be inside in safe house along any other militery academy or corp head quarter?Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 16, 2012 - 11:01AM

    @John B:
    We do the right thing after we have tried everything else!
    regards,
    Mirza

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  • Davidl
    May 16, 2012 - 11:12AM

    Musharaf was far far better than this current Chief of Army Staff.I don’t know of what is he afraid of? Funds for Army from USA is more important to him than dignity of his own country.Shame on your CAOS

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  • Pakistani
    May 16, 2012 - 11:18AM

    Embarassing !!!

    I wonder what are the families of those soldiers thinking who lost their loved ones in that hideous strike by NATO.
    They didn’t even get an apology.

    A little emotional but I wonder what will these great rulers do if something of that sort happens to their family members.

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  • Kamran Khan
    May 16, 2012 - 11:27AM

    Closing of NATO supply was a trump card that was used too hastily and without taking into consideration its long term effects – which are now being put before the nation. Fighting a super power is fun and honorable only if you are economically strong and internally united.It is hoped that the ‘foreign-policy framers’ have learnt some basic lessons from this debacle.

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  • Rizo
    May 16, 2012 - 11:40AM

    @anybodyagree What do you think of Iran.

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  • AFPAK
    May 16, 2012 - 11:52AM

    This is an exhibit A of playing DOUBLE GAME with not only USA but also with the average Pakistani on the street struggling to make both ends meet while coughing up taxes for the ghairatmand establishment.

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  • Moko
    May 16, 2012 - 12:02PM

    I think the headline should read smoothens not smoothes.

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  • yaz
    May 16, 2012 - 12:20PM

    Hey there’s nice shopping in Chicago. Weather is nice also and Islamabad weather is kinda hot. So let the President have some fun.

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  • WhatisThetruth
    May 16, 2012 - 12:31PM

    Interesting set of comments from everyone. So if the US was that desperate to open NATO lines, and could not bomb us back to the stone ages if we did not, then why did we open the NATO lines? Let us develop a foreign policy that is free of being US-Centric, and we may realise we can survive with dignity and honour.

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  • faraz
    May 16, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Imran should block the Khyber pass

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  • May 16, 2012 - 12:47PM

    I was just wondering how Treaty of Hudaibiya is any pertinent to the efforts in improving the relationship with the US ..

    In the scenario of US leaving Afghanistan as scheduled for 2014, Pakistan needs to assume the role of facilitator not an obstructor.

    We are likely to see a hike in anti-American, anti-Government and a little anti-Army fervor soon ..

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  • Shabbir Husain Qureshi
    May 16, 2012 - 1:25PM

    They can sold out the whole Pakistan if America offer them some million dollers+citizenship.

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  • May 16, 2012 - 1:57PM

    shame on COAS , an ill person .

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  • H
    May 16, 2012 - 2:01PM

    im shocked to read the comments above.

    Pakistan has to survive in this world, they cant take a stand against so many countries alone. It has made its point strongly by closing it for so long, it is National Interest to open these routes which is what has been done. Please guys, stop being cynical and negative and think about how it impacts your country. All the martial laws have made you a disable country and no one – i repeat – no one can survive alone.

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  • Hamid Javaid
    May 16, 2012 - 2:19PM

    Very talented leadership of 200 families looking in the best of national interest. Debacle after debacle………………Lets sum up what nation got after 64 years from NATO countries, politicians, establishment. Education?, Livelihood?, Health? Energy? Defense? Peace? National Integrity? Transparency? Good Governance System? Honor????.

    Billy aye, billy aye.

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  • vasan
    May 16, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Hamid Javaid : Very funny comments,
    “Lets sum up what nation got after 64 years from NATO countries, politicians, establishment. Education?, Livelihood?, Health? Energy? Defense? Peace? National Integrity? Transparency? Good Governance System? Honor????.”
    I wonder if NATO has provided all of these or even some of these, what are Pakistanis and Pak govt supposed to do. Sit down, eat 5 times a day, sleep 24 hrs a day and breed talibans. Get a life man. Go and do some work. You are supposed to earn each and every one of the points mentioned by you by hardwork and intellect. NATO providing that ?? Very funny indeed.

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  • Arslan
    May 24, 2012 - 9:18PM

    We should not forget What Hussain Haqqani said on the issue of NATO supply. The former US ambassador certainly in a sense on the decade’s old ill-conceived policy of looking both ways which has resulted in double trouble of spoiling relations with US and India and deaths of thousands of innocent civilians as well the security forces at home. It is a policy of playing with the fire for too long and getting charred in the process but still not learnt any lessons. His analysis is far more authentic than the short tailed analysts sitting in Pakistan.Recommend

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