Pragmatism over populism
As American leadership remains reluctant to extend an apology to Pakistan over the November 26 strikes on the army posts in Mohmand Agency, Prime Minister Gilani has warned the US and its Nato allies that no such attack on the country’s sovereignty will be tolerated in the future.
The warning came from Mr Gilani during his meeting with Army Chief Gen Kayani at the PM House on Friday. They discussed the issues pertaining to the national security with a focus on the situation on the Pak-Afghan border in the aftermath of recent transgression by the allied forces. The COAS also briefed the PM on the steps taken on the western frontier to revamp defence capabilities aimed at countering incursions into our territory.
In a related development US Ambassador Cameron Munter called on Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss “the current status of bilateral relations between Islamabad and Washington. In response to Mr Munter’s assurance of an early conclusion of the US-led-investigations into November 26 strikes, Ms Khar made it clear to him that normalisation of the frayed ties would be possible only after the completion of the review process.
The review process initiated by the government has been assigned to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security which has sought details from the government of all the past agreements, written and verbal, between Islamabad and Washington to frame its recommendations to be tabled before a joint session of both houses of parliament. The committee has yet to accomplish its task but keeping in view the prevalent anti-Americanism in the country it might go for lowering the level of cooperation with the US. However, Mr Gilani and the Foreign Office have repeatedly emphasised the criticality of relations between the two countries. With the Nato supplies already blocked and the Shamsi Airbase vacated, it’s time the political and military leadership made an honest assessment to determine if the public expectations to sever ties with the US conform to reality.