Anti-terror cooperation: Pakistan to rewrite rules of engagement

Published: December 5, 2011
Instead of a complete breakdown of ties, Islamabad wants a treaty with Washington clearly defining its red lines.

Instead of a complete breakdown of ties, Islamabad wants a treaty with Washington clearly defining its red lines.


Pakistan has decided to scrap all existing anti-terror cooperation agreements with the United States in a development that may not only take the uneasy alliance between the two countries to the point of no return but also impede world efforts at bringing sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

The decision, which was taken after consultations at the top civil and military levels following the Nato airstrikes, is part of a review of political, diplomatic and military ties with the US, officials familiar with the development told The Express Tribune.

This, however, does not mean the government is seeking a complete breakdown in the relationship with the US. Rather, it is aiming to enter a fresh agreement that clearly states in writing Pakistan’s ‘red lines’ and firm assurance from Washington not to violate those in the future, added the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The country’s insistence on re-drafting the rules of engagements is part of what is believed to be tough conditions set out for the resumption of business as usual with the US.

Since the November 26 Nato attacks at Pakistani border posts in Mohmand Agency, Islamabad appears to have hardened its stance — a move that could jeopardise the US campaign in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has already boycotted the key international conference on Afghanistan, scheduled to begin on Monday in the German city of Bonn, in protest and as an attempt to send a clear message to the US that it will not become part of any reconciliation process if its sovereignty continues to be violated by Nato forces.

“It is not possible to continue cooperation under the existing arrangements following the Nato attack,” said a senior military official.

Pakistan can now only restart its cooperation with the US after a new agreement that clearly defines rules of engagements, the official pointed out.

The review the government intends to undertake may also affect the CIA-led drone campaign in the country’s tribal areas.

Though, Pakistan publicly condemns the use of pilot-less drones as violation of its sovereignty, it is believed that there exists a secret understanding with the US.

“This will now be renegotiated,” disclosed another official.

US has ‘taken advantage’

Officials believe that the US has taken advantage of “the level of freedom given to them to pursue war on terror on Pakistani soil.”

The repeated incursions by the US-led Nato forces is also attributed to the ‘loose arrangements’ agreed between the two countries during the former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s regime.

When approached, Director-General Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas said cooperation with the US would be revisited in line with the government’s decision. However, he would not share further details.

Despite Pakistan’s tough stance, the US has not yet indicated or approached the government that it is willing to renegotiate terms of engagement.

“The only thing they (US) are saying at the moment is, ‘wait for the findings of the investigations into the Nato attack’”, said a foreign ministry official.

The inquiry, which was ordered by the US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be made public on December 23.

Irrespective of the US probe, Pakistan military is clear that the attack was ‘deliberate’ and a simple apology won’t normalise relationship.

US error blamed for airstrike

A report in The Telegraph said on Sunday that the US officers gave incorrect information to their Pakistani counterparts to seek clearance regarding the Nato airstrike.

The report quoted a Pakistani military official, while talking to The Sunday Telegraph, saying that the US gave wrong information to the border coordination unit about a suspected Taliban position before the attack while seeking clearance from the Pakistani side to carry out the attack.

“The strike had begun before we realised the target was a border post,” he said. “The Americans say we gave them clearance but they gave us the wrong information.” (with additional input from wires)

(Read: A grave crisis in Pakistan-US relations)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:52AM

    Look who is talking. Pakistan is not Iran. It need budgetary support from US and oil subsidy from Saudi Arab and UAE.It is nothing but sabre rattling for local consumption.


  • Nadir
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:56AM

    So had that not been a border post, was it okay then for NATO to conduct lethal operations on Pakistani soil? What agreements and what red lines were drawn up before? First make those public before talking off drawing up a treaty with clear “red lines”. The extradjudicial killing of hundreds if not thousands of Pakistanis via drones operating from Pakistan, which until a year or so ago was adamantly denied by the same Army chief and ISPR Director, didnt seem to cross any “red lines” amongst the high command.


  • F Khan
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:12AM

    This is the first relationship where engagement will occur after the divorce.


  • Dec 5, 2011 - 6:45AM

    To revisit policy is the best thought by our forces. But it would the much better, while doing it all the stake holders must be on board. The idea of revisiting the relations with US only be a lasting when the elected government will be included in it. We remember all the polices adopted by Gen. Musharraf alone could not meet the need of Pakistan’s intrest. Today the crises we are facing is the result our millitary policy makers did every thing on their own without including the parliaments. I feel very happy the idea to revist the relations with US, it is need of today.


  • Adeel759
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:11AM

    If pakistan crosses one Red line ( Fight the terrorist) all other Red lines will turn green.Recommend

  • No Nonsense
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:26AM

    That’s IT. A clear understanding in writing and approved by the national assembly. Presidents should not treat the country as their patrimony.


  • Tariq Ziad
    Dec 5, 2011 - 8:25AM

    Pakistan was coerced by USA to fight against Taliban regime. The rules of engagement were
    defined only to serve US interests. Pakistan is being taken for granted and treated as a
    mercenary and misused to achieve US strategic objectives. US did not appreciate sacrifices of
    about forty thousand Pakistani civilians and military personnel for US war against terrorism.
    It pains Pakistan to see the US heavily tilted in favor of India and Afghan regime. After all the
    Pakistani sacrifices for US war, Pakistani people feel betrayed by US for forging a multipurpose
    deal between Afghanistan and India. In reality, the US intends to ditch Pakistan’s security and
    sovereignty to restore Afghanistan’s security and sovereignty.


  • Dec 5, 2011 - 8:29AM

    The sooner the rules of engagement are delineated the better for all of us. Seeking clearance by giving wrong information and attacking another location is the highest form of treachery, deceit and chicanery. This is absolute untrustworthiness.

    We cannot go any further in this cooperation with the US because the war has been procrastinated and remains without results. The scenario is unrequitting and has been clearly framed on the wall when the Americans started negotiations with Afghans for a permanent base in the North to keep an eye on China, Russia and Pakistan. While it’s handmaiden (dai) India delivers the economic baby to Afghanistan and Pakistan is kept busy fighting the US backed rebels and militants and its economy remains in a shambles.

    There is no reason why we should remain as US ‘underlings’ and it is time for people to vote in another election and do away with the rural politicians and ‘paindoos’ who exhaust the national exchequer and do nothing but sit on TV talk shows.



  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 5, 2011 - 9:21AM

    Pakistan is a nuclear state so is the US and we would not be taking any more dictation from US any more.

    The rules of engagements will be written on the basis of equality which would be 50-50 basis.

    US should withdraw all CIA and under cover personnel and reduce the diplomatic staff from Islamabad and from other cities of Pakistan.

    Any more eventualities from US side will compel Pakistan to behave with US like Iran, North Korea or Venezuela and bilateral relations with US will come to a stand still.


  • Asad
    Dec 5, 2011 - 9:27AM

    @It Is Economy Stupid: Pakistan has more than Iran. Pakistan has gas, oil, copper, gold, coal, iron all ready to be tapped. We need to stand on our own feet. Beggers have no respect in the world.


  • amir jafri
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:09AM

    The United Satans of America a and all vestiges of westoxication must be eliminated and exorcised from the Pakistani soil and psyche. Iran Turkey and Pakistan must get United in a bond to kick these bums out on their bums.

    The world will thank them for it.


  • Mirza
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:21AM

    Have we broken the begging bowl as yet? How can beggars by the choosers? Has our army become brave and patriotic overnight?


  • Hukkabukka
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:28AM

    With all my condolences with the families of the martyred of Nov 26 attack, could someone explain why the killing of hundreds of the civilians due to drone attacks never got this response from the establishment which we have now. Were those not Pakistanis or even humans… or now it was time to do some different politicking and manoeuvring as a part of ‘another strategic adventure’….??


  • fahim
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:30AM

    @Asad: Dude, glad that you realized that we are international beggars and cannot be choosers. And the assets that you are talking about are 70% sold off to the chinese at dirt cheap rates with controlling management stake, all in the exchange of junk war toys. The day we will understand how the big players have used us and our resources, will be too late. Already a child born in pakistan today is indebted more than one lakh to IMF, US and China who will be calling the shots in future. So chill and accept this condition for decades to come.


  • Feroz
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:14AM

    In a transactional relationship any agreement can be redrafted. In the draft a clause should also be inserted that the International community is free to act if the State provides shelter to foreign criminals and terrorists.


  • biryani
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:14AM

    ok .. so a phone from american yet again, nation does have a short memory… remember a phone to mush, n rules of engagement…. 7 points on offer by U.S n the fist of musharaf & ofcourse the pants =)
    history repeats itself, every institution of pakistan is destroyed by institution’s very own leadership, n now is the turn of the last standing institution on same pattern.


  • Visibly Invisible
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:17AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    Siddiqui Sb. how can we be 50-50 partner when we are dependent on their aid. Let’s not live in fool’s paradise that Pakistan does not need any foreign aid be it Saudi’s, Chinese, US, or anyone else. There is a reason why people say: “Beggars can’t be choosers”


  • Opportunity
    Dec 5, 2011 - 12:07PM

    The past verbal OK on this horrific war can be Nullified and Voided and . . . . .why does there need to be a written agreement to start another war session and have more people die! Pakistanis want an end to this criminal genicidal war and want no part of it, . . .then why make a another agreement of this war. Pakistan can have a relationship with the US without War and on civil humanitarian grounds. Then only it is a true partnership otherwise it lacks sincerity and Pakistani people do not have an appetite for such adventures.


  • sajid
    Dec 5, 2011 - 12:08PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: “The rules of engagements will be written on the basis of equality which would be 50-50 basis.”

    COnsider the leverage that US and UK have with Pakistan and vice versa:
    – 40% of Pakistan’s exports go to UK and US. Not even 1% of exoprts of these countries come to Pakistan.

    Millions of Pakistani people living in these countries send remittances back to Pakistan every year. There is zero reverse flow.

    The children of top political leaders, military leaders, judges and bureaucrats live in UK or USA. Reverse is certainly not true.

    As for nuclear capability, Pakistan had that even in 2001 when a call was made to Musharraf and he did a U-turn on his support to the Afghan Taliban.


  • Dec 5, 2011 - 12:24PM

    No policy against terror would work unless the Govt. establishment is serious about bringing the country back to line.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 5, 2011 - 1:12PM

    @Visibly Invisible:

    Honest people of Pakistan are working to eradicate corruption and that is going to take time to change the government as well as to flush out the corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt businessmen who do not pay taxes to the government.

    The next government will make sure that any one who is earning must pay tax or other wise face the music. The tax evaders will be punished severely and their properties will be confiscated and sold in the open market and the money will be deposited against the taxes which such people have evaded.

    Once we will streamline the system of tax collection in the country, there will be no need to beg from any country.

    Some people in the country are mentally born slaves and they could not think as how to move forward and prosper.


  • biryani
    Dec 5, 2011 - 1:38PM

    @ visibly invisible
    can u give some statistics of expense of pakistan in war on terror n aid received?…. n when i say aid received, i don’t mean the pay pak army gets from U.S, coz loss in billions is pak public money


  • MarkH
    Dec 5, 2011 - 1:58PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    Oh believe me, everyone knows you have nukes. You’re always bringing them up and still fail to realize it doesn’t matter. People haven’t been lying about what they’re actually worth all this time but you never listen. It’s like a Pakistan catchphrase.
    “Did you see that guy trip and fall down the stairs? When I saw it I was like, we’ve got nukes!”
    “Yeah man, I saw it. We’ve got nukes is an understatement!”
    How about realizing that they really aren’t as useful as you seem to believe? You’ve never been scary because you have them. They’ve only been a concern because you’re infested with militant groups who have members trying and sometimes succeeding in infiltrating your ranks.


  • Shyam
    Dec 5, 2011 - 2:25PM

    Pakistan to rewrite rules of engagement

    Those who are incapable of enforcing rules should not write them


  • Dec 5, 2011 - 2:26PM

    It is a real GOOD NEWS after a decade……….


  • Shyam
    Dec 5, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui

    Nuclear technology is a 70 year old technology. Most countries can develop them by now and most sane countries decided against developing them. Only Insane countries/people can actually imagine using a nuclear weapon.

    So you have nuclear weapons, will you bomb USA. Even if you had the delivery systems to reach US, USA is a country far more insane than you. You might have nukes rated at kilotons but US has Nukes that are about thousand times larger and in much larger numbers. Your nukes are a first strike deterrent while USA’s nukes are based on the second strike deterrent philosophy.This means that US can nuke you but if you dare to nuke back then US will completely obliterate you. So tell me how much are your nukes worth against US


  • Opportunity
    Dec 5, 2011 - 4:54PM

    In short – there should be a clearcut transparency and should be about peace and not about war. Putting the nation under the cloud of another war and this time in writing will not serve the wellfare and good intentions towards the public. It amounts to saying: The previous administration did it verbally with one phone call and this administration wants to do it in writing, whereas they could have nullified and voided out the previous administration’s phone call war agreement. Pakistan and US do not need any war agreement . . . .they need a mutual peace and friendship agreement that does not involve any war whatsoever!
    If the agreement is about war again, (regardless how they want it conducted) . . . then, .it is a matter of grave concern especially for the public.Recommend

  • Iron hand
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:17PM

    @Nadir: in case you missed it, there is a war in Afghanistan. The people fighting that war find safe havens in Pakistan, as well as supplies. If Pakistan wants drones and incursions to stop, all it has to do is take control of this territory. Pretty simple, but it won’t happen.Recommend

  • Raj
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:50PM

    What are you rewriting???? One needs to learn to stand on their own feet before making hollow noises !!!!
    There are too many things which Pakistan needs to rewrite first for themselves and its people, before making noises !!!!
    Your International standing is virtually non existant and do you really think that anyone cares as to what you write????


  • ali tanoli
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:11PM

    Cant iran, turkey, pakistan ,egypt made a nato style defence agreement so they get some respect in the world (asad sahab, sidiqui sahab, khalid sahab????


  • Billy
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:41PM

    @Shyam -Don’t keep exploiting USA’s name for your own Indian proxy war. Why can’t India fight for its own without involving USA. India is the king of proxy wars because they dont have the courage or wherewithall to stand on their own which requires integrity and character. Recommend

  • bangash
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:50PM

    So now Govt wants in writing that US will not attack its “assets” on Pakistani soil. Haqqani Network however is free to attack NATO from FATA.


  • hamza khan
    Dec 5, 2011 - 9:17PM

    ‘loose’ arrangements during president musharraf? hmm..interesting. how many NATO strikes inside pakistan were there in 9 years? how many drone strikes were there in 9 years? perhaps one should realize that the US has always had a case of ‘exceptionalism’ in its mind. it can do whatever it wants to do. its ridiculous that they needed permission from a third world country to conduct drone strikes. have these hurt pakistan? yes, they have. but baitullah mehsud is also dead because of them. pakistan needs americas help in helping it get rid of the swarms of militants that have taken it upon themselves to use pakistans soil for anti state activities. to simply state that we’re not fighting someone elses war is fine, but then what is the alternative? you are gonna ignore the problem that the entire world is telling you about? what sort of mature politics is this? pakistan has to deal with the extremism and fundamentalism that all sorts of nationalities have foisted upon its people. that requires military action when needed and political action when needed. to blame president musharraf for everything is convenient, but not accurate. he’s been gone for more than 3 years. what was stopping the PPP from rewritring the rules then if they were so ‘loose’?


  • Fahd
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:13PM

    Its sad that every major decision taken by our “army” and “govt” is after we have either been bombed, made an idiot out of, or both.


  • You Said It
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:27PM

    @Shyam -Don’t keep exploiting USA’s name for your own Indian proxy war. Why can’t India fight for its own without involving USA. India is the king of proxy wars because they dont have the courage or wherewithall to stand on their own which requires integrity and character
    Remember 1971?Recommend

  • Raj
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:30AM

    @You Said It:
    May i suggest that you don’t forget 71, as it cost you half the country and now again you are meddling in the affairs of Afghans and this too can turn out very costly for you !!!


  • rehmat
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:59AM

    @ali tanoli: “Cant iran, turkey, pakistan ,egypt made a nato style defence agreement so they get some respect in the world (asad sahab, sidiqui sahab, khalid sahab????”

    You just named 4 Islamic countries.You thnink that the mere fact that they are Islamic would make them sensitie to Pak concers. Well you know that UAE was more sensitive to US needs on Shamsi than Pak needs – right? You also are probably awarethat Afghanistan signed a stateic partneship with India. So te general concept has some flaws.

    Now to the specifics: Turkey also is a NATO country. IT is unikely that it will give up NATO membership to join this group that you are talking of. As for Egypt they have just had an election. Things are in a state of flux. As for Iran – it is able to thumb its nose to US because of oil revenues. Where Pakistan is concerned 33% of its exports are to US and over a couple ofmillion Pakistanis live in US/UK sending remittances which also Pakistan needs. So think about what you are saying.


  • rehmat
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:02AM

    @You Said It: “India is the king of proxy wars because they dont have the courage or wherewithall to stand on their own which requires integrity and character
    Remember 1971?”

    Yes we do remember 1971. Indian soldiers fought and 90000 Pak soldiers surrendered. By no means was that a PROXY war. Pak was a US ally at that time and USSR with whom India was losely allied did not intervene.

    It is Pakistan that sends mujahids as proxies
    It did so in Kashmr starting 1989 and also in Kargill. But when Pakistan sent soldiers dressed as mujahids to Kashmir, Indians fought them head on and Nawaz Sharif had to run to US for a unilateral ceasefire.


  • Shyam
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:26AM

    @Shyam -Don’t keep exploiting USA’s name for your own Indian proxy war*

    You just dont get it do you. I did not even mention India and my statement is in no way connected to India. Where does proxy war come into this???
    Let me translate what I meant in simpler english.

    Any RULE without ENFORCEMENT is just a waste of time-Since Pakistan does not have the power to enforce US to do anything what is the point in writing rules? Next time NATO bombs soldiers again will you have the guts to shoot them down?


  • Dec 6, 2011 - 12:37PM

    How many US citizen and soldiers and how many Nato soldiers had been killed by OBL during the period he was housed in Abottabad cantonment ? Do you think Obama has accepted that Pak army did not know that ? How you think that US will agree to a rule of engagement dictated by Pakistan ?


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