Although the Libyan Embassy in Islamabad has removed the official green flag and hoisted the one representing the National Transitional Council, Pakistan has not yet recognised the rebels.
Islamabad’s reluctance to endorse the Nato-backed rebels is said to be because of its reservations over the manner in which Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power through foreign intervention.
Pakistan also believes that it is too early to take any decision on Libya since there is lot of uncertainty and confusion regarding who is really in charge in Tripoli.
In the past, Pakistan has taken a principled position to oppose foreign intervention in Libya and other states.
However, since the rebels made advances through Nato backing in Libya, Islamabad has avoided making any public statement in an apparent attempt not to annoy the western powers.
At her weekly news briefing here on Thursday, the foreign ministry spokesperson was guarded in her reaction to the rapidly changing developments in Libya.
“On the events in Libya, we are monitoring the situation very closely. Our diplomatic mission in Tripoli is fully operational and is also monitoring the situation. We believe that at this point in time, the situation is in a flux,” was Tehmina Janjua’s response when asked to comment on the situation.
However, she cautioned that principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Libya and all other states must be respected.
Regarding the hoisting of rebels’ flag at the Libyan embassy, she said Pakistan did not receive any official notification.
However, the Libyan ambassador told a television news channel that the decision to change the flag was taken after consulting all staff members at the embassy.
The embassy also removed photographs of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and other symbols of the his government defaced in support of the National Transitional Council.
The spokesperson said discussions were underway between Pakistan and the US Embassy to resolve differences on the issue of requirement of no-objection certificates (NoC) for diplomats intending to travel outside the capital.
“There are certain procedures that apply to all diplomats without discrimination,” Janjua added.
She also dismissed reports that the Army was issuing such NoCs.“As far as the issue of NoCs for the moment of diplomats is concerned, that remains within the purview of the Foreign Office,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.