Monday, April 16, 2012

Pakistan's Parliament redefines relations with US

ISLAMABAD: After over three weeks of hectic and behind-the-scenes efforts, a joint sitting of parliament on Thursday finally succeeded in approving the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on new rules of engagement with the US, while leaving the resumption of crucial NATO supplies issue vague.

The revised recommendations of PCNS presented in the joint session by the committee chairman, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, laid emphasis on respect for the country's national sovereignty when it declared that sovereignty of Pakistan shall not be compromised and relationship with the US should be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other.

The 14-point recommendations suggested that the US footprint in Pakistan must be reviewed. This would mean an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the country, cessation of infiltration into Pakistani territory on any pretext, including hot pursuit. It was also stressed that Pakistani territory and its airspace shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The lack of explicit recommendations on NATO supplies is believed to have been on the pressure of opposition parties.

The recommendations also say that Pakistan's nuclear programme and assets, and their safety and security cannot be compromised. It was noted that the US-India civil nuclear agreement has significantly altered strategic balance in the region; therefore Pakistan should seek from the US and others a similar deal. Read More