No secret deal with US over NATO supply: FM Hina
05 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday that the government decided to reopen Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs) into Afghanistan in line with the parliamentary recommendations and there was no secret deal behind this.
She was talking to journalists on the same day the federal cabinet formally approved its defence committee's decision of restoring the ground supply routes of NATO that had been suspended after November's Salala attack. Khar clarified that there was no secret deal with the US for reopening the route rather the decision was taken in accordance with the parliamentary recommendations regarding resetting rules of engagement with the US and restoration of the NATO supply.
"The government never deviated from any parliamentary resolution by reopening ground supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan." NATO/ISAF launched air strikes on Pakistani post of Salala in Mohmand Agency along Afghan border at the dawn of November 26 last year, killing 24 soldeirs. Pakistan then ordered suspension of the NATO supply and vacation of the Shamsi airbase by the US.
The government later decided to hand over the matter to parliament, which in April demanded unconditional apology on part of the US and made other recommendations as well.
In line with the recommendations, Pakistan had been demanding apology from the US for the last few months but Washington was reluctant to do so.
On Tuesday, speaking at a press briefing in Islamabad, the foreign minister said that the US had formally tendered an unconditional apology to Pakistan over the Salala checkpost attack. The same day US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the loss of life in the air raid.
"We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again," Clinton had said. Khar said that no doubt that the route was reopened but a super power was also compelled to step back by changing its stance on apology. "We have communicated to the US that the redlines should not be violated," she added. The policy was totally based on the recommendations of parliament, Khar said. The sorry was submitted that was accepted by DCC in its meeting and approved reopening of the NATO route into Afghanistan. To a question, the foreign minister said that talks on drone attacks would continue with Washington.
Parliament had also demanded an immediate end to drone attacks and end to use of Pakistani territory for transportation of arms and ammunition to NATO forces in Afghanistan. The 14-point recommendations also called for protecting Pakistan's sovereignty and relationship with the US based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other.