Pakistan Approves New Guidelines for Ties with US, NATO

Posted April 12th, 2012 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's parliament on Thursday unanimously approved a list of conditions that the United States must meet, if relations are to be restored and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan reopened.

The revised terms of engagement between Pakistan, and the United States and NATO call for an end to U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani territory and an unconditional apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops during a NATO airstrike last November along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. The United States has expressed regret over the incident, calling it an accident, but has not apologized for the incident.

Senator Raza Rabbani, chairman of Pakistan's parliamentary committee on national security, presented the 14-point set of recommendations to parliament. He said that to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States military must stop incursions into Pakistan, including drone strikes. Rabbani added that Pakistani territory, including its airspace, would not be used to transportation weapons to Afghanistan.

The recommendations also prohibit covert operation inside Pakistan, and say that no private security contractors or intelligence operatives will be allowed in the country.

U.S. special forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden during a covert operation in the northern garrison town of Abbottabad last May.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Thursday that his government will ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented.

Washington wants to rebuild U.S.-Pakistan relations, which have been severely strained since the November attack. The United States needs the NATO supply routes through Pakistan for its planned 2014 withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan.

But U.S. officials are unwilling to end drone strikes, saying they are key to success against al-Qaida and the Taliban. They say they are seeking balanced ties with Islamabad that respect Pakistan's sovereignty and take into account U.S. security needs.