Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Nato supplies deal

Published Jul 05, 2012 03:07am


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

AFTER seven months of obstinacy by both sides, and a year and a half of tensions between the US and Pakistan, the reopening of Nato supply routes holds in it the promise of a turning point in the relationship. Whether through a recognition of our increasing international isolation, a desire to be involved in the future of Afghanistan, or simply a realisation of the limited power Pakistan really had in these negotiations, the Pakistani civilian and military leaderships have finally demonstrated a willingness to compromise despite hurt sensitivities and political pressure at home. In return, the US needs to be extremely conscious of Pakistani sovereignty going forward, including when it comes to the unilateral use of drone attacks. If both sides grasp the opportunity this moment presents, it could help turn a dysfunctional relationship into one that can actually help solve the region’s security problems.

In fact, the most significant advantage Pakistan could derive from this moment is to start reversing the reputation it has developed of being an obstacle to peace in the region. The outcome of the talks has shown Pakistan did not gain much else from miscalculating the leverage it really had and then sticking stubbornly to that calculation. We have managed to obtain an apology — though some argue it wasn’t formal or direct enough — but not much else is different seven months later. There will be no transit fees, Pakistan had to say mistakes were made by both sides — a significant step back from the earlier position that the Americans attacked Pakistani soldiers deliberately — and the coalition support funds that will now come through represent overdue reimbursements for money already spent and will not solve the ongoing issues that come up every year with processing CSF payments. In the process, we have risked our reputation with the other Isaf countries as well. The lesson from all this should be that a concern for Pakistani sovereignty has to be balanced with the need to play a constructive, cooperative role in the region.

Aside from sorting out lingering issues with America, particularly counterterrorism cooperation, the task at home now is to rein in any violent right-wing reactions. The right was encouraged when public anger was needed as evidence of Pakistan’s political constraints, and by the same token it can probably be controlled now that a deal has been struck. But the risk with fostering intolerant forces is that they cannot always be managed. The Taliban, too, have said they will retaliate. It is now the security forces’ responsibility to make sure that truckers, and the communities that they pass through, remain safe.

Comments (29) Closed

Iftikhar Husain Jul 05, 2012 10:50am
The routes are open and now is the time to negotiate the future relationship not only with US but also with Brussels. Economically country is in a bad state this favoue of opening routes will be useful for bargaining.
NASAH (USA) Jul 05, 2012 04:19pm
Long overdue.
manzoor Jul 05, 2012 12:17pm
Reopening NATO route is positive step in right direction.
shoib Jul 05, 2012 03:21pm
it was a prudent decision .the right-wing parties should embrace the decision. the long march and protest will turn in to political stability.
reyan72 Jul 05, 2012 10:51pm
military had sold nation again
Hassan Zaeem Aftab Jul 05, 2012 11:19am
Both sides must have done much earlier, Hope for good future. Now Both sides must learn lesson. the goal to eliminate International Terriosim will be achieved
Muhammad Alvi Jul 05, 2012 10:17am
I agree: Pakistan's problem is with herself - corruption. When dealing with other countries, in this case with US, Pakistani establishment is focused on getting some money on such terms that they can use it to fill their personal foreign accounts. National interests are totally missing from the equation. As a matter of fact the national interests get sold. The foreign aid is working like bribe; Pakistan will be better off without such aid.
Richard Jul 05, 2012 10:10am
Transit routes were closed, and they have now been opened, because the Pakistan military wants it so. US would not have acceded to both an increase in the transit fees, and a huge aid package. In any case the increased transit fees would have gone into the government coffers, whereas over a billion dollars aid money goes directly to the military. Draw your own conclusions.
Samad Jul 07, 2012 10:46am
Sold? They gave it for free. The 24 jawans mere sheep sent to slaughter for nothing.
Naz Jul 07, 2012 10:43am
Both cut from the same cloth. He shames the uniform, they the Chair and Office.
Altaf Hussain Mumbai Jul 05, 2012 03:50am
Secretary Clinton has played with words, implicating Pakistan as a party responsible for the Salala tragedy, no respite from drones, no hike in transit fees, declaration of route opening made before the Parliamentary Committee could even meet, where does all this leave Pakistan?
Girish Jul 05, 2012 03:56am
Pakistan issue is not so much a dysfunctional relationship with others, but with herself. Her intentions, thoughts, words, and actions looks disconnected to us.
ss verma Jul 05, 2012 03:57am
If Pakistan had made the same announcement at the NATO Summit at Chicago +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ it would have been victory. Now its merely capitulation and surrender.
NASAH (USA) Jul 05, 2012 04:26am
Good news.
A citizen Jul 05, 2012 12:54pm
Shame on you Kiyani for opening the transit route. We had no expectation for our political leaders because they had already sold their ego and sovereignty. Now Gen sb you are managed to stay on the same line.
Khawar Jul 05, 2012 06:48am
Government of Pakistan have probably taken a right approach by re-opening the ground supplies route towards Afghanistan. This turn would bring Pakistan out from isolation from last eight months. Such bold decisions would not not only reduce militants threats but also bring the economy to a new momentum.
abdul salam Jul 05, 2012 07:34am
this is not the correct analysis of the issue (s).
Syed Ahmed Jul 05, 2012 04:07pm
I agree with Ifthikar Hussain, if at all we are in bargaining position, we should pursue the US to transport goods to Afghanistan by rail and build a motorway from Karachi port to Kabul. This will be in their interest as well as Afghanistan. Pakistan may also benefit.
Muhammad Naeem Tariq Jul 05, 2012 05:14pm
the recent development in the diplomatic relations, both the US and Pakistan have an opportunity to take the ever difficult relationship to new high. the American sorry has somehow created the room for the civilian govt to move forward. Americans, however, need to appreciate that Pakistan do have a stake in Afghan Peace process. Convergence of interests in the Afghan Peace Process can be the only way forward.
(Dr.) B.N. Anand Jul 05, 2012 09:09am
Sir When it is a case of both sides agreeing that mistakes were made by each of them, it seems that time lost was not the worth. There is no doubt that Pakistan had to react strongly to record its anger at the Salal incident, but then ultimately had to capitulate in the end to the whims of the super power with out getting any assurance for the superpower to at least respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. The drone attacks continue whether Pakistan likes it or not. It is indeed not a flattering situation. Hopefully, things may change after 2012. BNA
simple guy Jul 05, 2012 09:41am
Sir, why is it always the responsibility of security forces to solve the problems of truckers or for that matter any thing related to terrorism. You mentioned that now a big threat is from Taliban, where is the political will to oppose Taliban? Why is Judiciary quiet about actions taken by Taliban? Why is media so much afraid to pin point Taliban present in Punjab and rest of Pakistan? Where is involvement of Bureaucracy in resolving issue of Terrorism? Why do we all think that it is only "security forces" fighting Taliban?
M. Asghar Jul 05, 2012 09:43am
One should understand in the near future, the geopolitical significance of this reopening of the routs for the NATO supplies .
Jalil Jul 06, 2012 02:17am
Bargaining is done before the event, not after signing the contract. This should be obvious. Perhaps our leaders also think like you.
Ambreen(Med student) Jul 06, 2012 02:23am
"Pakistan had to react strongly to record its anger at the Salal incident" International policy, actions and reactions are based on rational thought, not emotions.
Robert L. Jul 06, 2012 02:37am
Where is the political stability now before the long march and protest? Looks more like confusion and chaos to me.
Aadil Jul 06, 2012 02:46am
From who's prespective? Not Pakistan's, obviously.
Jari H. Jul 06, 2012 02:48am
Wrong on all counts. Cannot disagree with you more.
El Cid Jul 06, 2012 03:02am
The US Secretary Hillary Clinton is a highly intelligent educated and experienced lady. An expert international negotiator with a high quality team to back her up. Pakistan has no one who can even come close. This was a ' No Contest' walk over for her.
Timur Jul 06, 2012 08:05am
Pakistan is gonna reopen supply route free of cost in the best interests of region. hahahahah What kinda interest is that, can anyone convince me? I think we are enough rich or financially strong that we don't need even a penny from NATO or ISAF in the name of transit charges that every civilized country does but before that its 1,000,000 dollar's question "are we civilized?" When our shameless officials demanded 5000 $s for each container how brutally Americans said that you can't bribe us. So keeping that in mind and also present statement "free of charges" who won America or Pakistan?