Pakistan to keep NATO supply line blocked
ISLAMABAD PAKISTANI President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani have agreed to keep NATO supplies to Afghanistan blocked till parliament takes a decision in that regard.
Both met at the presidency on Friday and discussed ties with the US and NATO forces, post cross-border raid on Pakistani checkposts by the coalition forces that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Islamabad closed the supply line for the coalition forces in Afghanistan after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO raid on November 26.
Both Zardari and Kayani have expressed satisfaction with the progress of the work by the parliamentary committee on national security preparing policy recommendations.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters on Friday that the committee will decide about the restoration of the supply route, Xinhua reported. Seventy percent of NATO supplies to Afghanistan passed through Pakistan until Islamabad blocked their movement across its territory.
Meanwhile, according to Geo News of Pakistan, Islamabad may invite US military trainers back “as early as April or May” but it has ruled out allowing US drones into the country again, Geo News reported citing US media.
Relations between the two countries have been at an alltime low since 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO aerial attack last November.
The Pakistan parliament, the report said, is reviewing the nature of its relationship with the US, and the politicians are expected on January 30 to deliver a list of conditions for cooperation in the fight against terror to resume.
The stipulations will include no covert CIA or military operations on the ground in Pakistan and no unauthorised incursions into its airspace, it added.
Drones, which are the biggest weapon the US has against militants hiding in the tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, “can never return”, a senior Pakistani official told the Fox News channel.
“They will never be allowed back, at Shamsi (airbase) or anywhere else,” the official added. In return, Pakistan would allow back US military trainers, including special forces teams, and a resumption of close cooperation with the US in targeting militants.
It would also reopen the Torkham and Chaman border crossings into Afghanistan, which have been closed to NATO supply convoys since the November 24 attack.
Associated Press of Pakistan on January13 reported that the US had resumed drone attacks. In the latest drone strike last Tuesday night, four suspected militants were killed in North Waziristan.