NATO supply reopening & expectations
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
With the formal apology from United States, Pakistan has decided to reopen the logistic supply for NATO and US forces from its soil. The supply route via Pakistan was closed after US forces attacked Salala military posts of Pakistan in Mahmand Agency on November 26, 2011. The decision to reopen the route has been taken in the meeting of Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), following the formal apology from US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton on July 3, 2012. In her apology statement, Ms Clinton said that, “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.”
Nevertheless, the fact remains that, Pakistan never wanted to prolong this suspension of the logistics supply, had US done so earlier. U.S has realized this after its sufferance of enormous economic losses while getting its logistic supplies through from the long northern routes, passing through Central Asia. As per a statement of the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, “the blockade was costing the US military an extra $100 million (£63 million) a month to get supplies into Afghanistan.
Secretary Panetta also appreciated the decision of Pakistan and said, “As I have made clear, we remain committed to improving our partnership with Pakistan and to working closely together as our two nations confront common security challenges in the region.” Earlier Mr Panetta has made some extraordinary statements against Pakistan, during his visit of Pakistan’s eastern and western neighbourhood. He even threatened Pakistan in the words that, “We are reaching the limits of our patience here and for that reason it’s extremely important that Pakistan take action.” This statement of Secretary Panetta was quite foul-mouthed and taken quite seriously by Pakistani nation as whole.
Pakistan has always sought good relationship with United States and international community as a whole based on sovereign equality and mutual respect. Traditionally, it is said that, great nations and great personalities have the moral courage and accepts the mistakes they made and do not hesitate in rendering the apology over those. As a super power, U.S would have been much honoured, had it accepted this mistake, rather a blunder, its forces committed deliberately on November 26, 2011. Besides avoidance of extra financial losses, a timely apology could have saved both sides from many misunderstandings, created since the occurrence of the incident.
By re-opening the logistic route for NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan has fulfilled its commitment for the global peace and facilitation for larger good of the international community. Now it is the responsibility of the international community, United States and its EU partners to own and pay respect towards the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan. As said by Pakistani ambassador to US Ms. Sherry Rehman, “We appreciate Secretary Clinton’s statement, and hope that bilateral ties can move to a better place from here. I am confident that both countries can agree on many critical issues, especially on bringing peace to the region.”
US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, who had a key role in convincing the Pakistani leadership to this entire process of reconciliation, also said in a statement that, this decision of reopening the logistic supply is, “a demonstration of Pakistan’s desire to help secure a brighter future for both Afghanistan and the region at large”. Furthermore, Pakistan has not asked for any additional transit fee, for this logistic supply, thus lessened US financial worries.
These extra-ordinary good will gestures of Pakistan for NATO and US demands that, this alliance should reciprocate positively towards Pakistan and lessen Pakistani difficulties in combating the terrorism and extremism from within Pakistan. Pakistan also expects that, ISAF and ANA bridle these elements, causing instability and lawlessness in Pakistan, having their bases in Afghanistan.
After this good will, Pakistan also expects the West and United States to stop patronizing, and funding the Baloch decedents. Pakistani masses would like that those sought self-exile in US, UK and other countries of EU and even in ME should be repatriated to Pakistan for their better future in their own country. Whereas U.S and its European allies have to do this all, someone from Pakistani Government should officially demand for these actions by U.S and EU. Indeed, sequel to this great step by Pakistan, let there be mutual respect for the sovereignty of each other and all should work for the peace and stability in Afghanistan.