ISLAMABAD, July 4: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar denied on Wednesday any secret deal for reopening Nato supply routes and insisted that the American ‘sorry’ showed their respect for aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
“I can today tell the people of Pakistan that US respects their aspirations as stated by the parliamentary recommendations,” Ms Khar said at a reception at the US embassy to celebrate America’s 236th Independence Day.
She described the breakthrough in ties as a ‘turning point’ and hoped that the new beginning would translate into a strong friendship.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ‘sorry’ on Tuesday for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops killed in a border post attack to secure resumption of Nato supplies. Pakistan was further assured that there would be no repeat of Salala-type incidents, but the agreement did not touch upon several other parliamentary demands, including cessation of drone attacks.
The government ministers, anticipating a strong backlash by the opposition, however, made it a point to emphasise that the deal was in accordance with the April 12 parliamentary resolution on new terms of engagement with the US.
The foreign minister, who looked upbeat over Tuesday’s developments that led to the reopening of supply routes, also said she expected that the two countries could convert the insurmountable challenges in their relationship into new opportunities. She noted that there was no other option but to work together.
The foreign minister further said that the progress achieved so far would now help the two countries to engage seriously on other issues.
Ambassador Cameron Munter, who will soon be leaving Islamabad, in his brief comments wished that Pakistan would keep its promise to achieve the promise made to it by the US.
Earlier in the day, Ms Khar said there was no “secret agreement” with the US to end the seven-month long suspension of supply routes. She rather contended that the US had to “back down”.