A Pakistani panel of top civilian andmilitary leaders Tuesday night deferred a decision on restorationof NATO supply line, a cabinet minister and an official statementsaid. Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman, who attended the meeting, toldthe media that there would be more consultations before taking afinal decision on restoration of NATO supply line. He said that all concerned stakeholders have been instructed toexpedite the process of consultations on the NATO supply line. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani presided over the meeting of theDefence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC). |
Army chief General AshfaqPervaiz Kayani, other services chiefs, head of the majorintelligence agency and foreign, interior and defence ministersattended the meeting. Pakistan had closed NATO supply line over the killing of 24Pakistani soldiers in November last year in a deadly U.S. airstrike. "In keeping with the letter and spirit of Parliamentary Committeerecommendations, the DCC authorized officers of relevantministries/departments to conclude the ongoing negotiation on thenew terms and conditions for resumption of supplies," an officialstatement said. The new terms and conditions should incorporate a clause, asrecommended by Parliament, to the effect that only non-lethal cargowould be allowed to transit through Pakistan to Afghanistan, itsaid.
It was also decided that the military authorities should negotiatefresh border ground rules with NATO/ISAF to ensure that strike onPakistani posts type incidents do not reoccur, the statement said. "The DCC welcomed the unconditional invitation by the NATOSecretary General to the President of Pakistan to attend NATOsummit in Chicago. The DCC fully endorsed the visit of thepresident for the Summit",the official statement said The Committee further decided that the Ministry of Foreign Affairswould continue to remain engaged with the government of the UnitedStates on other Parliamentary recommendations, including thequestion of apology and cessation of drone attacks. The Committee also discussed the Parliament's call for expulsion offoreign fighters, if found, on the Pakistani side.
The NATO Secretary General called President Asif Ali ZardariTuesday afternoon and extended a formal invitation to him to attendthe NATO summit, presidential spokesman said. Pakistan and U.S. officials had been holding talks in Islamabadover the past few days to discuss new terms for NATO to usePakistan's land routes for supplies. Earlier sources said the DCC had taken a decision to restore supplyline for NATO troops in Afghanistan after nearly a six- monthclosure of the supply routes. Local media had also reported that the DCC had also decided thatweapons would not be transported via Pakistan and only petroleumproducts, food, medicines and other essential items would bepermitted for NATO forces.
Pakistan and the United States have been in a standoff over theclosure of NATO supply line since November. Islamabad had been demanding a public apology for the NATO strikefor reopening the routes. The United States has so far refused totender apology, but top American and NATO leaders have now pressedIslamabad to reopen key supply routes.
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