Pakistan govt urged to review ‘strategic assets’ policy
ISLAMABAD ANY further attempt on Pakistan’s part to preserve its “so-called strategic assets” would further isolate the country and might even invite UN sanctions, warned a Pakistani daily on Thursday.
The country “cannot carry on with its old policy as it has been exposed”, an editorial in the Daily Times said. It said that worsening of relations between Pakistan and the US was of continued concern.
After a NATO airstrike in November last year killed two dozen soldiers, Pakistan did not attend the Bonn Conference to register its protest and “lost the chance to reinforce its significance in the Afghanistan endgame”.
“If now Pakistan is contemplating boycotting the upcoming Chicago Summit too, this would only isolate the country further.
“...We cannot carry on with our old policy as it has been exposed and become unproductive for some time. The UN mandate arguably allows the US drone strikes on terrorists in Pakistan in the absence of any action against them on our part.” The emphatically said that “any further attempt on our part to preserve our so-called strategic assets would further isolate us and might even invite UN sanctions. It is time for a reality check”.
Referring to the USPakistan equation, it said: “Under the present circumstances, this is not a relationship that can be severed at a moment's notice without serious consequences for not just the larger aims of the anti- Taliban/Al Qaeda effort but also for Pakistan's already hanging-on-by-a-thread economy.” The daily said despite passing of an anti-drone strikes resolution after the parliamentary review of Pakistan- US relations, “the US has not halted its drone attacks...”John Brennan, counterterrorism chief of Barack Obama’s administration, has termed the use of drone strikes as legal, ethical and proportional, protected by international laws - a UN mandate given to the US for its counterterrorism efforts.
“His assertive statement has put the Pakistan government in a tough position.. The space for face saving seems to have shrunk. Pakistan cannot linger on with its dual policy in the war on terror any longer. It has to decide which side it is on,” it added.
Delving into the background of the problem, the daily said Pervez Musharraf’s regime gave the US “every imaginable concession on one phone call after 9/11 but it adopted a dual policy of helping the US dismantle Al Qaeda while preserving the Taliban for its strategic depth policy”. “The incumbent government carried on with the same ambiguous policy.” It, however, noted that the US has belatedly understood the “double game of Pakistan's military (and now civilian) establishment”.
“There is also a possibility that the UN would ask Pakistan to open the supply routes on threat of sanctions because under international law, no country can refuse its neighbouring landlocked country access,” said the editorial.