After the agreement


Pakistan agreed to re-open land routes for NATO goods on July 3, 2012 after they were blocked for almost seven months due to a US airstrike on Salala that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan on June 31, 2012 signed a deal with the United States with regards to NATO convoys traveling to Afghanistan. It is the only post-9/11 written agreement between Pakistan and the US. Officials at the ceremony gave no details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and only vague details have been released to the media.
Guidelines laid out by the Pakistani parliament earlier this year insisted that in future no weapons and ammunition be transported through the country. But a very confusing clause has been included in the MoU in this regard: it states that no weapon or ammunition can go through Pakistan to Afghanistan for the NATO Forces; but if there would be any need of capacity building of the Afghan Forces, then weaponry could pass through Pakistan. Custom Officers would receive 250 $ per container. The question is this: what is the guarantee that the weapons which are being transported through Pakistan for the Afghan Forces would not be used by the NATO Forces against Pakistan? It was also mentioned in the agreement that the American weapons would not be included in the non-lethal cargo, but at the same time they defined non-lethal cargo as US military equipment vehicles and other military property and it is clearly against the Parliament’s resolution. This clause is also a question mark.
It was clearly written in the resolution passed by the Parliament earlier this year that there should be a clear written agreement with the US before the supply routes are reopened but NATO supply routes had been opened two weeks before of this agreement. This agreement was not presented in the Parliament or press before being signed, nor did they discuss it.
I think that the weapons which are going through Pakistan to Afghanistan will be used against Pakistan. I hope the our policy makers – both civilian and khaki – were mindful of such clauses when they signed this agreement and that these clauses do not come back to bite Pakistan in the near future.