Forging a new relationship: Pakistan, US might cut ‘black and white’ deal

The agreement will state areas of cooperation; ISI chief to visit US soon.


Kamran Yousaf July 05, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Pakistan and the United States are likely to enter a ‘black and white’ agreement which seeks to remove ambiguities in an otherwise fragile relationship. The agreement will spell out both areas of cooperation between the two countries and their respective limitations regarding the relationship.


According to officials, the understanding was reached as part of the ‘package deal’ which paved the way for resumption of supplies for the US-led foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan through vital land routes in Pakistan, officials said.

A Pakistani official familiar with the development revealed that the US was initially reluctant to negotiate such an accord since the existing ‘vague’ arrangements served its purpose. However, Islamabad managed to convince Washington on the issue during intense discussions aimed at breaking the deadlock on Nato supply lines, the official added.

Pakistani interlocutors informed their American counterparts that the November 26 incident would not have taken place had there been a written accord between the two sides.

“Salala like incidents had been taking place for years and the reason was a lack of written agreement,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

“It was important that we put an end to this practice and it is only possible if we have clear agreement with the US,” the official added.

He said the new agreement will outline ‘each and every aspect’ of relationship between Pakistan and the US.

“We don’t want to leave any ambiguity in our relationship with the US,” he maintained.

Another official confirmed that the seven-month long standoff had provided both sides an opportunity to narrow down their differences on many other issues.

The official disclosed that the two sides had exchanged ‘non-papers’ identifying each other’s limitations during marathon talks between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar in New York last September. But the process ceased following the diplomatic standoff over last year’s Nato air strikes on Pakistani check posts which killed 24 soldiers. Talks on the proposed agreement will begin soon with exchange of high-level visits from both sides, he said.

For this purpose, the head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), will travel to Washington soon to discuss and identify areas of cooperation in the intelligence field. This will be Lt General Zaheerul Islam’s maiden trip to the US since he took charge of the ISI a few months back. He was scheduled to travel in May but had to delay his trip due to lingering stalemate between the two countries.

“Now that the standoff is over, the DG ISI will soon visit the US,” said a security official.

US to repair road infrastructure

Though, Pakistan dropped its earlier demand of imposing additional transit fee and taxes on trucks carrying good for NATO forces, the US has agreed to provide funds for repairing damaged roads due to the heavy traffic. “The US will soon announce the financial package for this purpose,” said a Pakistani official.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.

COMMENTS (15)

antanu g | 9 years ago | Reply

@Sandip: Yes its all about money...US lost over 2 billion US $ for getting supplies through alternate sources..read Mr.Panetta,s confession in US Senate hearing a week or so back. And at this time of difficult times in US economy, 2 billions are certainly about money.

US Centcom | 9 years ago | Reply

Dear Hedgefunder,

It is simply false to state that the U.S. dictates the terms of our relationship especially when the negotiations took over seven months to resolve and Pakistan stayed adamant in having its terms met. The U.S. and Pakistan are two strong and proud nations that value equality and both felt it was time to revisit the terms of our engagement. The question of dictating terms to each other shouldn’t arise because we wouldn’t even be working together if we didn’t share a common stance against terrorism. The reality is that both of our nations require each other’s cooperation in the WOT. We’ve wasted enough time due to our differences. It’s extremely important that we have a healthy working relationship with each other. This is the only way to battle our common enemies. We’ve been able to weather the storm, and now it’s important that we focus on eliminating the elements that are preventing us from bringing peace and stability to the region. We are glad to see that the importance of achieving our common objectives is once again being placed above everything else. We are happy to see the U.S. and Pakistan move forward for the betterment of the region. We reiterate what Ambassador Sherry Rehman said in a statement, “We appreciate Secretary Clinton’s statement, and hope that bilateral ties can move to a better place from here. I’m confident that both countries can agree on many critical issues, especially on bringing peace to the region.”

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