ISLAMABAD, Sept 6: The ministries of interior and defence have taken diametrically opposite positions on the issue of halting Nato supplies to Afghanistan via the Torkham border post.
While the former says it is a temporary disruption because of ‘security concerns’, the latter insists that the government decided to stop the supplies indefinitely because Pakistan has issues with the allied forces’ recent incursions inside the Pakistani territory.
Talking to DawnNews at the Prime Minister’s House, PM’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik said the government had not stopped Nato supplies through Pakistan.
“The Nato supplies were temporarily halted after around 20 soldiers of the Frontier Constabulary were captured by the militants in the area from where the supplies cross into Afghanistan,” Mr Malik said.
“In fact, let me tell you that three trucks carrying Nato supplies were attacked en route to Afghanistan, compelling the government to secure the area,” he said.
Mr Malik said the supplies were given a go-ahead on Friday night after security forces had secured the area. Earlier in the day, the Minister of Defence Ahmed Mukhtar had said exactly the opposite.
“The government has stopped the oil supply to Nato forces following attacks into Pakistan’s territory,” Mr Mukhtar told DawnNews.
“The attacks by international forces deployed in Afghanistan had been continuing despite protests lodged by Pakistan”, he added.
Observers say the latest claim by Mr Malik, within hours of the Defence minister’s statement, and less than 24 hours after 30 trucks taking Nato supplies had been stopped for an indefinite period smacks of the prevailing confusion within the government on what policy to pursue in the wake of continuing attacks by US-led forces inside Pakistan’s territory.