Supply routes to be restored only if NATO apologises: Ahmad Mukhtar

Published: November 30, 2011
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Defence Minister also says that Shamsi Air Base will be vacated by December 11. PHOTO: APP

Defence Minister also says that Shamsi Air Base will be vacated by December 11. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said on Wednesday that the supply routes for Nato troops will be restored only if Nato apologises for the “unprovoked attack” that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Express News reported.

Mukhtar also said that Shamsi Airbase will be vacated by December 11 and no drone planes would be allowed to fly from the base after that.

Earlier in a Cabinet Defence committee meeting, Pakistan had decided to ask the US to leave Shamsi Air Base within 15 days and blocked ground supply routes through Pakistan to US forces in Afghanistan.

Washington was sent notices to vacate the narrow strip located in Balochistan following the deadly Nato attack.

Three sources, who declined to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity, said that US planning was under way to leave the base.

The cross-border incident escalated tensions between the two countries and the US military is conducting an investigation to find out exactly what happened on the ground. The moves by the Pakistanis to block ground supply routes and the air base were not expected to significantly hinder US operations.

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Reader Comments (85)

  • KB
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:17PM

    Apologises? What a Joke!
    Kill and Apologise should work as a better strategy for them then.

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  • Shayan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:21PM

    His word is not worth much. He will probably get a lot of criticism for what he is saying but its his own opinion and based on zero authority.

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Whatever happened to the ‘apology is not enough’ stance?

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  • bill
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:22PM

    selling pakistani blood for incompetent defense ministerRecommend

  • CronicThinker
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:24PM

    As if by apologizing the dead soldiers will come back to life…

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  • Supernova
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:27PM

    what? nato supply routes should never be opened no matter what.Recommend

  • shak
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:28PM

    The reality is Pakistan is at the mercy of the Western powers, so I hope people of pakistan take this tragedy as a lesson to work harder and be more honest with their country to make us self sufficient to never have to suffer this humiliation again.Recommend

  • sham
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:33PM

    didn’t somebody told before, only apology won’t be accepted.. what has changed now?

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 7:38PM

    what an offer Mr Mukhtar

    Trust me they wouldn’t apologize and you will open supply routs, mark my words

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  • sohail
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:40PM

    @KB:
    no pakistan is saying rite…there is some diplomatic reason behind that…well going now..ye baat lst mein samaj mein i ge. bohat

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  • Silent Spectator
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:42PM

    Will their apology bring the dead soldiers back?

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  • Chilli
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:43PM

    Restore??? Why???

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  • Johny
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:45PM

    That will be really sad if they opened the routes for the sake of this apology.They have brutally killed our soldiers,we don’t want any apology – we want USA to handle this so called “WAR ON TERROR” themselves.. we are out of it.

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  • bhatti
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:45PM

    come on…you are gonna open supply routes after an apology ??? when you can not represent the feeling of your own people, then the only option people have is to make decisions on streets….

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  • Muhammad Waqas
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:46PM

    Mukhtar sb it is better to resign than giving these type of statements. Supply Routes should be blocked permanently, nobody want their apologies, block the Airspace as well.Recommend

  • Saim Baig
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:50PM

    No need to restore!!!
    If they do, it will be a shameful act!!

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  • xyz
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:50PM

    if their Apology is accepted it will encourage them to come and again kill our soldiers!!

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  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:52PM

    He should resign immediatlyRecommend

  • umair
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:54PM

    atleast tit for tat!

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  • Aadersh
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:55PM

    C’mon…who made this guy Defence Minister??
    Apology is certainly not good enough…

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:58PM

    Foreign minister is saying, apology not acceptable, Defense minister saying it is. What a clownish state of affair PPP government is!!!

    This gentleman left for a personal US visit when DCC meeting was called after May 2nd. This is his level of seriousness and sincerity to the country. These people cannot be sincere as long as they have personal vested interests outside the country.

    Listen to Imran Khan, he is 100% right.

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  • Jadugar
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:00PM

    So all the lost lives will go in vain, It seems the new standard of our defence dept is Just kill us and apologise then all is forgiven and forgotten, the defense minister should try this on himself,
    Something is wrong with the whole picture here, sudden change of heart? Were these guys lying to the public and now wants to cover it up, Was NATO justified in its action I am starting to wonder? Why wasnt there any response from the Armed forces when the attack went for more then an hour and half. Are our emotions being lied and betrayed by few of these elite few.

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  • ali
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:00PM

    Shame on CM….he has no power.Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:01PM

    US adventurism is not acceptable any more for Pakistan. Hillary should now look for alternate supply root.

    The Defence Minister want NATO to apologies, but Pakistani Nation would not accept it. If Defence Minister will accept NATO apology and open the supply roots, people of Pakistan will ask him to step down.

    Apology is not the blood money which should be accepted by family members of the deceased soldiers.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:01PM

    Is he a Defence Minister or what?. Soldiers were killed,please be sensitive. It is loose talk like this that has messed up Pakistan.

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  • MarkH
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:04PM

    Didn’t I recently just see an article of some official saying an apology isn’t good enough? Not that it matters. NATO’s current position is one nobody would apologize for.

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  • NAdir
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:04PM

    I thought this base was supposed to be vacated after OBL raid?

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  • cautious
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:07PM

    Classic Pakistan!

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  • Aadersh
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:08PM

    & he doesn’t even know they have already apologized…Recommend

  • Mirza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:26PM

    The army generals make tough comments after each failure. However, when it comes to eating their own words they hide behind the civilian govt. Just like they did after the May 2nd raid. Mukhtar has no power to do anything. He is only being a front man for the establishment to save their faces. The game continues and the victims remain poor masses of Pakistan.

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  • usman
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:30PM

    catipulating to international pressure so easily?
    Why did we make a loud fuss then if were going to put the tail between our legs two days later?

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  • SYED KASHMIRI
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:32PM

    Here comes the apology. Not from the Americans but from the defence minister !Recommend

  • Lobster
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:33PM

    incompetent minister. First investigate why the army was again in “halat-e-sakoon”. Recommend

  • maestro
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:35PM

    Apology??? Will someone get rid of these puppets??? Imran KHAN!!!

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  • Taimour Hassan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:36PM

    Yes they should apologize for there act but that wont give our soldiers back nor the 40,000 killed already . Get your Act straight or else your government should Get Ready to face the Music from people of PakistanRecommend

  • brandon
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:43PM

    All we want is an apology US dollars !!! And all is forgiven.

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  • Babloo
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:46PM

    Pakistan trucking Industry earns 2 billion dollars and more from NATO on supplying routes. In fact that may be the most productive sector of Pakistan economy today. If Pakistan stops , its economy will collapse even faster.
    Thats the reason that after bluff and bluster, they are already talking about restoring supply routes and looking for a face -saving way out.

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  • ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:49PM

    kill our countrymen and then apologise. this will go on in future and our ill fated leaders wont do anything. this is confirm!!

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 8:49PM

    What is this Mr Mukhtar….who accepts an APOLOGY for 24 cold-blooded murders??Recommend

  • pk
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:51PM

    we will never tolerate by mere apologies we want justice, we want the people after this to be punished and so does this Defence ministerRecommend

  • SJafri
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:54PM

    I think these people are more concerned with thier losses rather than national interests. Recommend

  • Tony C.
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:02PM

    Dear Minister Mukhtar, How can we explain to you in words you will understand that NATO, for reasons that are devoid of all reason are attacking your country, and no amount of words will change that. They attacked Iraq, bombed it into the stone age, stole all their extremely rich oil fields, repeated the exercise in Libya, invaded Afghanistan, killed thousands of them, removed the Taliban Government on the premise that they were giving safe-haven to terrorists who were responsible for 9/11, installed a puppet Government that has created the largest opium industry in the world, keep forgetting that the people involved in 9/11 were Saudi citizens, but did not touch Saudi Arabia, introduced the largest killing machine in the world in a vain attempt to control terrorism, they have not succeeded and are now blaming Pakistan, creating newly named terrorist groups such as Haqqani out of the blue and suggesting it is Pakistan’s fault that they exist. The bottom line is that so called terrorism probably would not exist if the Americans had not invaded Afghanistan. But do we have terrorism in Pakistan now? Are they freedom fighters? What is the American mission, which is provocatively vague? I do not recall too many problems created by Pakistan 10 years ago. Would it be too much to suggest that if NATO forces moved out the problems in Pakistan wold fade away. Afghanistan may face renewed problems, but is that Pakistan’s responsibility? I would say it is not Minister Mukhtar. It is your responsibility to stop the bombing of Pakistan. Tragic as 25 soldier deaths are the number pales into insignificance when compared to the several thousand deaths of innocent Pakistan men, women and children who have been blown to pieces. The only way to solve your dilemma is to stand firm against a very determined, so called, ally, which does not have the best interests of Pakistan in mind. .

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  • Raj - USA
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:02PM

    What an irony !!!!

    During Kargil war, it was said that it were the militants and not Pakistan’s regular army that was fighting the Indian army. This later proved to be untrue. Pakistan even refused to accept the dead bodies of its soldiers who were buried in India by the Indian Army. Even after sacrificing their lives the brave soldiers were dishonored by their own country and not allowed to be buried in their homeland.

    Now Pakistan is saying that regular army defending Pakistan. Those who died now are given full honors and martyr status. Let us see what unfolds in the future.

    Pakistan should wait patently for the NATO investigations to be complete.

    Millions of Pakistanis who supported Pakistan and fought for Pakistan are left stateless in Bangladesh and Pakistan does not want to accept them though they have consistently proved their loyalty to Pakistan for the last 40 years. However, Pakistan gladly accepted to host Afghan refugees. Remember the famous line of Zia when he called the initial offer of financial assistance from USA “Peanuts”. Afghan refugees were a lucrative source of income whereas, taking back the Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh would not have brought any income. Now, even Afghan refugees are not wanted in Pakistan as they ceased to be a source of income for Pakistan.

    So much for the Muslim Ummah and constant brainwashing.

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  • meekal ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:04PM

    Probably a matter of money — it always is.

    How much revenue does the government rake in? I suppose it comes to us as CSF.

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  • SYED KASHMIRI
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:17PM

    Soon the Pakistanis will be apologizing for closing the routes.Such a spineless leadership.

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  • M. A. Changezi
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:43PM

    24 soldiers’ lives against NATO’s apology? Sharam karo.

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  • ovais ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:51PM

    look friends my opinion to you and ur govt is this they should play strategically.set your conditions,build your defences and offences such as installing shoulder launched missiles and air defence system and tell them clearly next time we will shot them without warning that we should not be blamed for their losses than and tell america to look for alternate supply route permenantly from now on….this is your golden chance to get out from this web of deciet…….ovais tauheed from kashmir

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  • Usman Rasheed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:57PM

    “We are partners and, yes, soldier died due to our firing. But still we are not ready to apologize.” They said so. We are following a business deal with them for sure. And above all, there is a big amount in the name of ‘aid’, accepted by both civilians and military.
    We must refuse that aid, and this gonna be ideal time to do this. Conveying a very clear message; no compromise on our solidarity, integrity and credibility(within Pakistan).
    “This is the only route to their food, medics, ammunition etc” the very minister said, is what they also know and can’t be taken as threat.
    Rest, we all know, also as in above comments, the supply would be resumed.

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  • Babloo
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:11PM

    @syed, no Pakistani leadership is not spineless. Its the sineless economy and the fact that most Pakistanis do not pay taxes that has reduced Pakistan to a begger state. Recommend

  • Muna
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:15PM

    For Allah sake, at least once, just once, show some leadership to this nation. We are being attacked, killled, humuliated in the world…and these people can’t even come up with one consistent stance on this issue. Shame on them and on us as well becuase we brought them into power. Recommend

  • M.S.Shaikh
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:31PM

    So, is he actually admitting that the drones were flying out of Shamsi base?!
    Foot-in-mouth…..I reckon! . I wonder what their reaction would be if, God forbid, they lost a member of their family in such an attack? Recommend

  • SYED KASHMIRI
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:34PM

    Is this defence minister for real ? Or is this reopening talk a trial baloon from a spineless supine leadeship ?

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 10:39PM

    We do not need any apology.
    We want US to get out and stay out.
    That is it and that is final……………………………………..Recommend

  • malik
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:46PM

    (When Amreeka does not talk about aid. ) “Apology is not Enough !”

    (When Amreeka indicates linking of more aid to this.) “It is ok, just apologize, and then we can resume our work!”

    (When Amreeka agrees on the quantum of billions to be given.) “No need to apologize, just look sorry !”

    (After the funds are transferred.) “Cmon, let’s shake hands and forget this. Let bygones be bygones !”

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  • meekal ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:48PM

    What is with this “apology” thing anyway. They have expressed condolences for the loss of life; Obama called it “tragic”. Since there is to be an investigation, I am sure that — despite much pessimism as to whether it would be a fair investigation — if the US is found to have over-reacted and caused needless death, they will come out and accept fault.

    The question is would we trust a report by a US General leading a team on which all parties will be represented, or would we have greater faith in the results of our own investigation?

    If the latter, so be it but do let me know the last investigation that our government produced that was honest, truthful and completely transparent — in the past 64 years.

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  • S.H. Zaidi
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:57PM

    People have short memeory, so just to remind them, he is the same guy who, when faced with criticism over US drone strikes, once said: “We can do nothing about drone attacks.” So rest assured, guys, that he means nothing. He is not even “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Ignore what he says. Apologiy or no apology, the supply routes would soon be open, and Shamsi Air Base, –well, it will be vacated only if and when the US so desires!

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  • Bammbaayyaa
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:01PM

    He is commenting now … so as Pakistan can bargain for some more dollars … obviously on the name of the dead soilders … shameless …is’t it ???

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  • Hesus stole my hot rod
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:02PM

    They need to pull out of someone else’s war . not reopen the route. This is like saying just dont kill our soldier, let the TTP & your drones kill ordinary pakistanis.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:10PM

    Why ? why open the supply routes?? What happened to your Ghairat????
    All you want is apology?????
    Why have all this drama ? To please the local people for couple of days and than business as usual !!!!
    Just as i said couple of days ago !!!

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  • ExPat
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:12PM

    Chaudry shaheb this is not the people who work in your fields and give their life for you. This is Pak Army Jawan………………….so think before u say something…Recommend

  • bangash
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:17PM

    Pakistani nation also wants apology from military over PNS Mehran incident.

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  • Tony C.
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:53PM

    M.S. Shaikh has a very good point. The Pakistan Government has made a Pakistan airbase and Pakistan air space available to the Americans so that they can bomb Pakistani people easily. If the American Intelligence is so good that they can direct a drone flying above 10,000 feet to hit a target with supposedly pin point accuracy would it overly stretch their abilities to give Pakistan Intelligence the names and addresses of these people so that they can go to their residences and arrest them. This would stop houses full of women and children from being blown up and solve a difficult problem. However, methinks this would be too easy and will never happen..

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  • Jayan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:55PM

    What he is telling is fact only because British defence secretary is acting as middle man for Pakistan in resolving the issue with US. That is why the defence minister has now turned down the rhetoric

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  • Masood
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:07AM

    I am ashamed to be a Pakistani. When will our leaders stand up and be counted? It seems it will not happen in our lifetime. 120+ million people feeing betrayed.

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  • Mr Mansoor
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:12AM

    Finally someones talking sense!

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  • Goher
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:44AM

    Pick a date and get together and destroy Mr. Zardari/Gallani and Nawaz properties in Pakistan. This is the only and best way to go Forward for all of us then they will realize and understand. Include mr. defence minister in the list.

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  • Ruturaj
    Dec 1, 2011 - 12:47AM

    ahaa…This is really interesting…Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Dec 1, 2011 - 1:24AM

    The blockade will not effect US/NATO capability. It will only impact the poor Pakistanis who’s will not have livelihood. Not too smart a decision made by Fat Cat’s in Islamabad.

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  • Bakhtiar
    Dec 1, 2011 - 2:32AM

    my brothers it time i think!!!!!! its time to act to do what ever possible with in our means and resources if u can write then write and expose these ** and if u can speak then speak the truth about them and wake ur fellows, friends and dear 1z. remember we are the youth we can do what ever we want wehave the power to take them down. but keep 1 thing in mind that this struggle it should not end if we have to chose b/w life and the struggle then without giving it a though choose the struggle because HUM RAHAY NA RAHAY kal ko koi yay ni kah sakay ga k we didnt do any thing about it!!!! get the message out tell hte ppl to stand up to these ** they dnt deserve to b a pakistani and if v dont stop them either will v. i am thinking to host a cofrence of youth join me and support PAKISTAN

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  • Hedgefunder
    Dec 1, 2011 - 3:09AM

    @Ruturaj:
    There is nothing interesting ! Its just a act to deceive the people and continue to do business as usual, as i mentioned couple of days ago!
    Now get ready for attendance at Bonn Conferance too, as they really can not afford to miss that limelight on world stage !!!
    So why all the drama bazi???
    Do the Pakistanis simply don’t care, as to how stupid this whole charade looks in the eyes of the world???
    I guess, perhaps not!!!

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  • sfaf
    Dec 1, 2011 - 3:18AM

    I think by ‘apology’ he meant couple of million dollars in his pocket! That would be a sad day indeed if NATO got away with just a mere apology….and hopefully this minister never crosses my path from that day on!

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  • rehmat
    Dec 1, 2011 - 4:09AM

    @SYED KASHMIRI: “Is this defence minister for real ? Or is this reopening talk a trial baloon from a spineless supine leadeship ?”

    Trial ballon from a spineless supine military leadership.

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  • Menon
    Dec 1, 2011 - 4:12AM

    Kiss ~billion dollars/month good bye

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  • rehmat
    Dec 1, 2011 - 4:17AM

    @Tony C.:
    ” If the American Intelligence is so good that they can direct a drone flying above 10,000 feet to hit a target with supposedly pin point accuracy would it overly stretch their abilities to give Pakistan Intelligence the names and addresses of these people so that they can go to their residences and arrest them”

    There have been several instances -AFTER May 22 mind you when Americans gave actionable intelligence to Pakistanis and then Pakistani agencieswarned the terrorists who escaped.

    Even if a terrorist IS arrested, the Pak courts are such that they do not convict any terrorist as long as the object of taht terrorists anger is India, US or Shias. I think we have enough proof of this. If Pak government had behaved honorably in ths past, such a serious credibility gap would not exist.

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  • Rabia Khan
    Dec 1, 2011 - 4:22AM

    America has already apologised and sent their heart-felt condolences to the deceased. Perhaps compensation would be a good idea

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  • Shahbaz Khan
    Dec 1, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Apologies are irrelevant in international relations. Only a major shift in the US policy towards Pakistan, which is currently extremely hostile and coersive, will cause a positive change in its relations with Pakistan. US needs to unequivocally convey to Pakistan and the rest of the world that it considers Pakistan an ally and back this up with visible change in strategy and concrete reconciliatory action. This unnecessary and gruesome war, started in utmost haste by the short-sighted Bush administration, needs to end. It has brought extreme devastation to the region and has caused serious damage to the US. Hostile attitude towards Pakistan will only prolong sufferings of all sides.

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  • Karim
    Dec 1, 2011 - 7:28AM

    What a joke! The intentions of our government are not good. They cannot maintain a stand and will soon give in because they are corrupt and thus do not have moral courage.

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  • Dallas Ali
    Dec 1, 2011 - 10:46AM

    @Rabia Khan:
    NATO has already said that they will compensate the dead & the wounded; that was announced the day the news came about the inadvert killing of Pak. soldiers.

    Bottom line is Pakistani Govt will buckle as they have NO other means of easy revenues that are flowing in from the West.

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  • larkidesi
    Dec 1, 2011 - 11:31AM

    what is wrong with this man? whose side is he on?

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  • Nirmit
    Dec 1, 2011 - 5:39PM

    Lot of single sides views…..if not apology than what should NATO do!! what would settle the dispute?

    While criticising every view, one must also hold a realistic counter view…..I see them simply mising

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  • Hedgefunder
    Dec 1, 2011 - 7:18PM

    @Nirmit:
    There is lot missing from these Ghairatmand mob!!! They should learn to pay their taxes first !!!
    This is all just hot air, and give it few days and it will be business as usual as these lot simply can not afford to take on anyone!!!
    Its all hollow talk and even that they are not consistant with, as there are lot of different views and opinions within the ruling hierarchy !!!!

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  • Hedgefundersofa King Dummmmmm
    Dec 1, 2011 - 10:13PM

    Sorry for my bad words earlier. Pakistan is always right, seriously!!!

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  • Sidd
    Dec 2, 2011 - 10:28AM

    This is very clever move of the minister. If NATO apologises then they have accepted committing a mistake. Once they have accepted then Pakistan can extract financial damage.

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  • Hamid
    Dec 2, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Funny isnt it, Pakistan is complaining about the drone attacks but the news reads “Mukhtar also said that Shamsi Airbase will be vacated by December 11 and no drone planes would be allowed to fly from the base after that.” They are operating from inside and yet they are unable to stop them.

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  • xhausted
    Dec 4, 2011 - 12:07AM

    The people in the West are sick of Pakistan, and everything it stands for. All my life I’ve been a peaceful, respectful and tolerant man. But over the past 5 years that tolerance has faded.

    If Pakistan hates America and the UK, believe me…we hate and despise you more. We need to lock down our immigration, throw out all Pakistanis, Iranians, Afrgans, and Iraqis and have nothing more to do with any of you.Recommend

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