The civil-military leadership, in a key meeting between the prime minister and the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, decided to devise a strategy that would seek an early resumption of the suspended Nato supplies, sources told The Express Tribune.
The decision comes a week after US Secretary Defence Chuck Hagel reportedly warned Pakistani leaders that if they failed to resolve the protests stalling the Nato supplies, it could be difficult to maintain political support in Washington for an aid programme that has sent billions of dollars to Islamabad.
Sources said that Premier Nawaz Sharif and the army chief shared views over the backdoor channels used by the US administration and diplomats representing Nato countries to pressurise the government.
They added that the prime minister expressed his concern over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s anti-drone policy, which was causing trouble for the government.
Sources revealed that Nawaz told the COAS that Chaudhry Nisar was tasked to convince Imran Khan to end the protest but so far the PTI chief has not responded.
Moreover, Nawaz said that a definite strategy would soon be chalked out to end this saga, which had created problems for the government and was not in the larger interest of the people.
Sources added that COAS apprised premier about his meetings with the US defence secretary, Lieutenant General (retd) Haroon Aslam, his visits to the Line of Control (LoC) and other professional matters, which were dealt after he assumed office.
“Issue of drone strikes needs to be resolved with the US as this is causing both internal and external problems for Pakistan,” General Raheel told the premier.
The prime minister however maintained that “drone strikes are counterproductive and bringing nothing but a constraint in Pak-US relationship”.
The Nato supply was suspended last month after the K-P government controlled by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf announced the blockade of routes running through the province for Nato forces’ consumption following a drone attack in Hangu.
The official statement issued by the prime minister’s office said, “the prime minister and army chief discussed security related matters and other national affairs. Country’s internal and external security situation was also discussed in the meeting.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2013.
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