No Bonn voyage for Pakistan

Published: November 29, 2011
Pakistan will boycott the Bonn Conference, scheduled for December 5 on Afghanistan’s future, to protest the cross-border NATO attack. PHOTO: PPI/FILE

Pakistan will boycott the Bonn Conference, scheduled for December 5 on Afghanistan’s future, to protest the cross-border NATO attack. PHOTO: PPI/FILE

LAHORE: If the Afghan endgame is a chessboard, Pakistan is believed to be the queen; the game can’t be played without this crucial piece.

Thus the international community has been rocked by Pakistan’s decision to boycott the Bonn conference on Afghanistan’s future, due to be held in the German city next week, in protest against Saturday’s Nato air raids on Pakistani border posts that killed two dozen troops.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Lahore. Other pressing topics which would normally have been discussed, such as the energy crisis, were swept aside as the question of how to react to the air strikes dominated the agenda.

At home, the prime minister will summon a joint session of parliament to debate the issue, after recommendations from the parliamentary committee on national security.

Before then, however, the fallout could have caused further diplomatic strain. A prominent member of the cabinet told The Express Tribune that the premier would make a ground-breaking announcement on Pakistan’s relationship with the US in the ‘war on terror’ within the next few days. He said that the news would ‘comfort’ Pakistanis, though he was reluctant to divulge more information.

Another minister, who asked not to be named, told The Express Tribune that the cabinet had a heated debate on why the Pakistan Army had not reacted to the air strikes. The minister said the prime minister informed the cabinet that the military operated on the directives of the government.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar briefed the cabinet about the incident and the diplomatic efforts being made to highlight the violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty. The cabinet agreed that unilateral actions, like the Abbottabad raid which killed Osama bin Laden and the cross-border Nato air raid, were unacceptable.

Gilani also informed the cabinet about the decisions of the defence committee of the cabinet (DCC). He reiterated that Pakistan would never compromise its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Cabinet takes forceful stance

After much debate, the cabinet made some formal decisions and statements, which were released to the media. Firstly, that it reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for stability and peace in Afghanistan – and that it hoped the Bonn conference would further this goal, despite Pakistan’s non-attendance due to “developments and prevailing circumstances”.

The cabinet also officially condemned the Nato air strikes and termed them an “assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan”. Furthermore, it endorsed the stance taken by the DCC, which includes closing Nato supply routes, ordering the US to leave the Shamsi Airbase, and reviewing Pakistan’s ties with the US-led coalition in general.

The cabinet also asked the international community to acknowledge that the air raids violated the UN charter and international law, with possibly grave repercussions for regional peace and security.

Pakistan is calculating shift in US relations

Federal Minister for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said the country’s boycott would send a message to the world: that Pakistan could not participate in a conference aimed at protecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty while its own sovereignty was being breached and tarnished. She added that the decision not to attend the Bonn conference has laid the foundations for a shift in policy on the country’s relations with the US.

She said that the prime minister has asked Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh to submit a report on the likely repercussions of Pakistan changing its approach to the US.

Rehman Malik denies UAE airbase story

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed that notices have been sent for the US to vacate the Shamsi Airbase, while denying reports that the UAE has requested Pakistan not to shut it down.

Malik told the media at Lahore airport that the government has responded “courageously” to the US over the issue.

Karzai tries to make Pakistan change its mind

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called Prime Minister Gilani and asked him to reconsider the decision to boycott the Bonn conference. Karzai also condoled with Gilani over the death of Pakistani soldiers.

Gilani said Pakistan remained committed to helping restore stability in Afghanistan, but also expressed regrets that Afghan soil was used to attack Pakistan by Nato forces. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was “very sorry” about Pakistan’s decision. She said Germany would still “see what could be done to change” Islamabad’s mind.

(Read: Aftermath of NATO air strike)

(With additional input from Agencies)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (79)

  • yaz
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:13PM

    Good decision.


  • Bournville
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:16PM

    You have to earn a seat at the Bonn conference. No wonder Pakistan always reacts this way whenever it gets a hint that it would shown its rightful place.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:19PM

    We must boycott the Bonn Conference to register Pakistan’s protest so that international community should see as what US and NATO is doing with Pakistan.

    I back the Pakistani Government decision. The nation is standing behind the govenrment.

    Let’s make Pakistan an independent state minus US and NATO.


  • H.A. Khan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:21PM

    Did anyone notice the waste paper basket near the PM. Well I THINK this is where resolution are dumped?


  • Raza
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:23PM



  • ARF
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:29PM

    well done – now stick by it


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Now the establishment has taken certain decisions for imparting some rationality to its operational relations with the US-led occupation armies in Afghanistan.


  • Asad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:38PM

    Bravo!!! Atleast something to appreciate… Decisions must be implemented to shut the Shamsi air base and seal border to block Nato supplies…


  • THE
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Agreed! Enough is enough! We really don’t need to be in the Bonn meeting if Pakistani soldiers are to be killed like on Nov 26th.


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:44PM

    Good Decision.


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:49PM

    Nice banner.


  • Speaker
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:09PM

    Not a good decision, we have to face the world. convey our point of view to others. Isolation never be the solution of any problem. we must record our protest on each and every platform.


  • THE
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:11PM

    @Bournville: Yea right! What is this conference going to achieve without Pakistan? Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:17PM

    Believe in Allah for once….and see the results.

    Say no to NATO/US


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:19PM

    Let Americans now come to us with their bended knees,this is a bold decision.


  • Pakistani
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:38PM

    It is very shamefull to see muslims divided .Yesterday UAE Minister visited Pakistan to convince Pakistan not to shutdown shamsi base and we all know who has send them.Pakistani leadership alone cannot take a firm stand unless and untill all the muslim leaders are united. These killings are not the issue of Pakistan alone its with all the muslims countries , the difference is that some have been destroyed and some are waiting for their turn . Unless and untill muslims are not united as a umma , we are going to face this brutality .Who knows turn for other muslim countries for such attacks is near .


  • Billoo Bhaya
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:39PM

    Without Pakistan at Bonn the conference is meaningless, BBC analyst remarked. They might as well discuss football, baseball, horse racing, gays in the military etc., etc., Even Russia has decided that its partner Kyrgyzstan ask US to vacate the Manas airbase. With Putin and Medvedev shoring up missile defense against the US it is only a matter of months that they too will close the surface route to Afghanistan. That will be the end game for Afghanistan and Karzai so long as Pakistan can hold its nerve.


  • still-a-Pakistani
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:40PM

    stick to this decision and follow it through by associated action after the conference.


  • Shabnum
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:42PM

    A very good decision, let NATO attempt to quell the Afghanistan situation without our help. We have sacrificed too much for this unresolvable conflict.

    No doubt Hamid Karzai will have his staunch criticism of Pakistan. Let him now wring his hands in desperation, he has been in no hurry to condemn us for destabilising Afghanistan, their foreign ministry speaks of Pakistan in the most derogatory terms. It is a country resigned to primitiveness, for God’s sake 20% of their population are currently residing in Pakistan.

    Let us unite behind this cause and let the world finally understand that we are indispensable allies rather than enemies. Our participation with Afghanistan should now be restricted to diplomacy, we should not waste anymore of our resources and energies.

    Wazeer-e-Azam, Imran Khan


  • Hassan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:50PM

    Boycotting the conference is not a solution. Pakistan will only loose a chance of representation. I think WE should attended the conference and highlight our demands in front and MAKE NATO say SORRY for this unfortunate event.


  • Saamrajee
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:00PM

    One hope they are serious this time..A good decision anyway!! They must also stop the supply reaching at Karachi port for ISAF, if they are really mean business.


  • ashok sai
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:12PM

    So, there is no stake for Pakistan in Afghanistan future, Afghans will be much relieved hearing this news.


  • kiibet
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:23PM

    koi faida nahi…..this means we have already accepted the sacrifice of our soldiers killed innocently….


  • Noor Meem
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:33PM

    Alas, we would still be readily available to negotiate with the Taliban (the mercenaries who have killed more than 35,000 Pakistanis, including policemen, a general, a brigadier, scores of colonels, majors and captains and thousands of soldiers. Let’s not count the public. They are children of a lesser God, anyway.

    The establishment decides what is “right”, who to adopt, who to leave. I wish we had same standards and principles for all the enemies of Pakistan. I wish.


  • Mahesh Patil
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:34PM

    I am against this inhuman killing but would you please also kindly tell Taliban and militants who kill Shias,Ahmedes,Christians and Hindus that Pakistan is for all to live and not to kill.Recommend

  • Ali Tahir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:36PM

    Very good decision.

    Now we should implement all these steps, NATO supplies, closure of Shamsi Base. I am sure NATO will starve in Afghanistan.

    From now on, INSHALLAH no one in Pakistan will ever trust USA.


  • Udaya Bose
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:47PM

    I always understood that Pakistan believes that

    dialogue is the way forward

    Isn’t that what India has always been preached to by Pakistan? Even after Kargil? Even after the Mumbai mayhem?


  • Amjad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:59PM

    @ashok sai: I don’t think this one conference means much. Pakistan should show its displeasure by not going. The wound is too raw and no proper understanding of what happened has come out yet. Pakistan will need to be in the conference in order for there to be any meaningful change so it will teach everyone a lesson.


  • Ali Noor
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:59PM

    @Muhammed Ali Siddiqui: pay back the us$61 billion you owe plus interest and your independence from US and its allies is guaranteed :D


  • Freeman
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:07PM

    @ashok sai: According to western media Bonn Conference without Pakistan is useless. I think now they have nothing to discuss in Conference without Pakistan. So it will be juat a wast of time.


  • Ali Noor
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:07PM

    @ashok: where are you getting that info from? Recommend

  • Lahoot e Lamakaan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:09PM

    without Pakistan there will be no “END GAME of Afghanistan” and they all all know it

    As for all the indians commenting on ET : Get in the que:, cant you see we are a lil busy with NATO and stuff Recommend

  • Was a Pakistani
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:16PM

    It is global diplomacy so stop sobbing and man up….. Pakistan has to stop this being on PMS and start behaving seriously


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:32PM

    Very bad decision..When there is an opportunity to fight, we avoid,…when there is time to speak, we boycott..Only one thing we do on time…Surrender..


  • pakcrisis
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Yet another incredibly illogical move by Pakistan. Our ability to respond like children truly amazes me. At the world stage, at such a critical conference, where for once our say could actually have some importance given the topic of discussion, what do we do… boycott it. Great move. This will only end up damaging Pakistan further, and we will continue to pay a heavy price for such retarded moves.


  • Cautious
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:42PM

    Boycotting an event which is suppose to resolve conflict isn’t very wise — an emotional response akin to a petulant child who picks up his toys and goes home when he gets in a fight.


  • ukmuslim
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:45PM

    world is for all to live and not kill

    extremists harbour in your country and spread jihad in all over the world, killing innocent people. why don’t pakistan take any strong actions. is this message conveniently only for pakistanis.


  • Pundit
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:49PM

    @Freeman: Even with Pakistan the conference is a waste of time.


  • ali
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:50PM

    A good decision. I am the staunchest critic of the govt but on this one I fully support the govt. The whole nation is united. Stand up to Nato and its puppet in Afghanistan until all our demands are met. The attackers are punished. Pakistan is given the nuclear deal like India. The $60 billion damage to economy is reimbursed. All CIA/Drone bases in the country vacated.


  • CommonSense
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:50PM

    Earn a seat? Well here I was thinking 30,000 civillians lives and lives of our soliders,plus economic losses were a price high enough to earn a seat. I guess not, so we should pay a higher price to secure a seat next time. Also what exactly is this dumb conference going to achieve? You guys haven’t been able to solve the euro crisis (which has been dragging on for months) through endless series of conferences, so what is going to be new at the conference? Is Merkel-Sarkozy going to pull out peace bunnies out of their hats? Are they going to wave a magic wand of utopia over Afghanistan? You dont have the main players (taliban and pakistan) at the conference so I guess all that will happen at most will be world leaders doing joint mani-pedis and photo ops for their facebook profiles. The real situation on the ground is beyond the ground something you guys are still not willing to accept


  • Ahmed
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:54PM

    @ Bourneville. Pakistan’s rightful place is in South Asia. America’s rightful place is on the other side of the Atlantic where they should stay. Time to to go home buddy.Recommend

  • Err
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:56PM

    @ashok sai
    As usual another absurd comment from our beloved Ashok Sai who took a time capsule and now resides in 1999 back when Pakistan was an international pariah. Ashok here is a comment from the future, in 2011 it turned out after 9/11 the whole world despite trying to isolate us on insistence of India still desperately needs us in the War on Terror. Also by 2011, Pakistan has lost 1000’s in civillian lives, millitary lives and economic costs but we dont cry like babies like the way Indian’s cry over a handful of people despite also being a victim of terror attacks. Aslo ashok, newsflash despite India being a bigger countery economically, it is actually Pakistan that is needed by the US for peace talks with the Taliban. SInce we are closer to the central asian corridor we are also needed by India if they want a pipeline (whether through iran or turkmenistan)
    So Ashok unless India plans to airlift its oil requirements over the next decade, I guess you and the rest of the world, guys do need us after all. So go read some fresh news and stop leaving behind uneducated comments.Recommend

  • Surya
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:06PM

    For god’s sake stop this crap of muslim umma which is a non-existent entity..based on your theory Bangladesh war, Iran-Iraq war, Iraq-Kuwait war etc. shouldn’t have happended..OIC is a big joke and most of gulf rulers are selfish…


  • Feroz
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:14PM

    Pakistan should not fall into this trap set for it by boycotting the Bonn conference. To be completely sidelined and left out of the Afghan peace process will be a disaster. As it is the World knows that the Afghan Taliban are finding refuge in the country. To be seen globally as protector of Taliban and refuge of terrorists is a scar the nation cannot erase. Pragmatism should be preferred to confrontation. The US can find alternate routes even though uneconomical ones but Pakistan cannot survive without financial Aid. So called friends like China will give verbal support but no money.


  • Dee Cee
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:17PM

    What is this is an understanding between the PPP and the US to inflame patriotic feelings and unite the country behind Zardari and Geelani? The memo already showed how they are in partnership, and this move by the Prez and the PM definitely takes wind out of PTI’s anti-Americanism. With each strong statement, Zardari and Geelani will get more popular support. Food for thought, eh?


  • waqar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:27PM

    @Bournville: first learn to respect the law of other country, you americans think you rule pakistan. Pakistan is not afghanistan or iraq. Recommend

  • waqar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:33PM

    @Pundit: and with india its waste of time and money.Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:31PM

    @Lahoot e Lamakaan:
    I love your sense of irony. Well said.


  • talha
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:18PM

    Don’t try to demotivate pak army.We are with Pak army Recommend

  • PTI.lad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:16PM

    The americans WILL be bothered by this.After this keep the resolve and DONT back down. The americans are already counting the days the border will be closedRecommend

  • Diplomacy
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:29PM

    Obama will use King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia to sooth Pakistan for attending the Bonn conference. After all Pakistan cannot say no to Saudi Arabia


  • nadira sabah
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:46AM

    boycotting bonn conference is the right step to take….plz stand firm by this ..also uae govt should be ashamed of touting for usa . kindly u should also have shabaz and ghazi barotha also vacated..


  • ksri
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:03AM

    Good decision and likewise Islamabad needs ignore Afghanistan for a while and focus its energy and scarce resources on itself. The strategic depth policy is a disaster. It has taken Afghanistan to stone age and parts of Pakistan to medieval period.


  • S. A.
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:10AM

    India is behind all this. India with the help of the United States, did this just because they want to take out their 26/11/11 hotel bombings grudge.


  • fahad
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:50AM

    I think Pakistan should attend Bonn. At the end of the day we want US & Nato forces out of Afghanistan and end this Joke of a war. The supply routes should remain blocked till NATO,UN, OIC,ISAF dont give written Guarantees that such acts of violation will not occur in the future and are not acceptable under any circumstances. And we reserve the right to retaliate strongly if such acts take place in future.


  • ali
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:13AM

    I am really sick of Yankee, Mossad and Raw spooks on this forum, spewing anti Pakistan propaganda. Here is the message for you, your time is up so pack up and leave before you are kicked out.


  • Dr.A.K. Tewari
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:25AM

    The attack on Pak soldiers was a deliberate attempt to keep Pakistan away from tne Bonn conference . The decision of Pak govt. is not in the interest of Pakistan as it will increase the moral of terrorists to increase attack on ISAF and that will give them excuse to stay for long period in Afghaistan .


  • Raj NJ
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:39AM

    Very smart move. Do not have to hear “do more” lecture one more time.


  • Nov 30, 2011 - 7:49AM

    @Bournville: Our politicians have always beckoned to the Wests’ call to come closer. Read the facts of history and if you are a Pakistani then do not write this comment of yours. The global economic and political arena is fast changing and see it for yourself. Peace for a better world


  • somy
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:30AM

    @Dee Cee:


  • fyu
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:10AM

    But the queen is being hit by both – the alleged saviour and the alleged terrorist.


  • ksri
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:20AM

    when you cannot counter any argument the easiest thing to do is to accuse/abuse. this is a forum to debate the events and policies and not ‘kick’ anyone out just because the person does not share your views.


  • Observer
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:27AM

    “The minister said the prime minister informed the cabinet that the military operated on the directives of the government.”

    Right, just like the military operated on the directives of the government in Kargil.

    All this is the usual huffing and puffing and bluster for the sake of the public. In the end a few billion dollars would change hands and everything will go back to “normal”


  • Usman
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Air corridor provided to the NATO US by Pakistan is still open…..


  • Bourneville
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:52AM

    I am a thorughbred redneck. What do you expect from me?


  • Zulfiqar Mirza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:05AM

    Stick to the stance… No back channel deal this time!


  • nikhat
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:03PM

    i wonder why all of a sudden pakistani rulers become so sentimental and caring for pakistan?. Do they need more money from the big power?


  • Pundit
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:11PM

    @ali: I am from RAW and wish to tell you I am going no where,,,people like you make my day:)


  • Pundit
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:16PM

    Compliments to your headline writer:”No Bonn voyage for Pakistan”

    What about “Gone Conference’?


  • Observer
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:18PM

    ***”The minister said the prime minister informed the cabinet that the military operated on the directives of the government.”***

    Right, just like the military operated on the directives of the government in Kargil.

    All this is the usual huffing and puffing and bluster for the sake of the public. In the end a few billion dollars would change hands and everything will go back to “normal”Recommend

  • antanu
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:01PM

    Not only muslims…but all those countries who wish to coexist with dignity.


  • Sana
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:23PM

    Well better stick to this decision. We have a habit of changing our mind. Meanwhile they could enjoy bonfire at that BONN conference.


  • Babloo
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:42PM

    @Ashok Sai: Dear friend…Instead of commenting on every article why dont you just say once and for all that you have nothing but ill will for Pakistan and you get off on bad news coming out from Pakistan. :)


  • Gopher
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:04PM

    Oh look…our holier than thou friendly neighbours are here again


  • perwana
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:20PM

    @Mahesh Patil:
    “I am against this inhuman killing but would you please also kindly tell Taliban and militants who kill Shias,Ahmedes,Christians and Hindus that Pakistan is for all to live and not to kill.” You forgot to add Muslims, they also got killed by these militants.


  • Udaya Bose
    Dec 1, 2011 - 10:11AM

    @S. A.:
    India is behind all this. India with the help of the United States, did this just because they want to take out their 26/11/11 hotel bombings grudge.
    That is diabolically creative!


  • Mark Ecko
    Dec 1, 2011 - 1:19PM

    @Freeman: Can you please send us link of “western media” which says that the western countries cannot do Bonn without Pakistan ? Please!!!!. Also please go and read what the Bonn conference is about. Go in details about the agenda and you would immediately realize the Pakistani drama. Good luck


  • Mark Ecko
    Dec 1, 2011 - 1:22PM

    @Babloo: On behalf of Ashok, I would like to say that we come to read some good news. Unfortunately for you guys there is never a good news from Pakistan. So where ever we comment is just bad news for Pakistan. So how about stop being defensive here and start contributing to the better future of your country …eh?


  • Pakistani27
    Dec 3, 2011 - 12:10AM

    we are no longer going to live in fear. there is nothing worse than what pakistan has been made to go through because of her ‘friends’. pakistan is not yours. it belongs to to the pakistanis. it is time we realize our own potential and stand on our own feet. when united, there is nothing that pakistan cannot achieve.

    they keep on saying america gave this much aid that much aid…they do not realize that pakistan has lost wayyyy more money than any aid package in this war on terror…as for the 40000 pakistanis who have lost their lives….there can never be a price for that.Recommend

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