ISLAMABAD, April 12: Parliament has unanimously approved new guidelines for the country’s troubled ties with theUnited Stateson Thursday, in what could be an important step in putting relations back on track.
The revised recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) presented in joint session of the parliament declared that sovereignty ofPakistanshall not be compromised and relationship with the United Statesshould be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other. The 14-point recommendations presented by PCNS chairman Senator Raza Rabbani, say that US footprint inPakistanmust be reviewed. This would mean an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside Pakistan, cessation of infiltration into Pakistani territory on any pretext including hot pursuit. Pakistani territory including its air space shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to the Nato forces in Afghanistan. The recommendations also say that Pakistan’s nuclear program and assets including its safety and security cannot be compromised.
The US-India civil nuclear agreement has significantly altered strategic balance in the region and therefore Pakistan should seek from theUSand others a similar treatment. The strategic position of Pakistan as well as India on the subject of FMCT (Fissile Material Cut off Treaty) must not be compromised and this principle be kept in view in negotiations on this matter. Pakistanshould seek an unconditional apology from theUSfor November 26, 2011 unprovoked Salala check post incident. Those held responsible for Mohmand Agency attack should be brought to justice.Pakistanshould be given assurances that such attacks or any other acts impinging on the country’s sovereignty will not recur.
Ministry of Defense and Pakistan Air Force PAF should formulate new flying rules for areas contiguous to the border. As per revised recommendations no verbal agreement regarding national security shall be entered into by the Government or any department or organization with any foreign Government or authority. Washington has been eagerly awaiting the results of the parliamentary review, saying it will be key to reopening supply lines to Nato troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Islamabad closed the supply lines in November to protest US airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.
The new guidelines call for an end to US drone strikes, but also stated that the supply lines should be reopened, albeit with a higher fee charged to US and Nato forces. Parliament approved them late Thursday in a vote. The government will now formulate policy based on the guidelines.