The Pakistani authorities have notified in  Customs General Order that the USA could get passage through both Torkham and Chaman for weapons. It has already used these two crossing points for both food and fuel, but now the use of these two points will also be for the withdrawal of its troop from Afghanistan. It is worrisome that such a major decision was taken without any reference to Parliament, which had been assured, after the joint session which preceded the restoration of Nato supplies was promised this. It means that decisions vital to the conduct of foreign relations, particularly the USA, continue to be made without reference to representatives of the public, and behind closed doors, in a process unknown to the public. With a relationship as sensitive to the public as that with the USA, that is not a sensible policy for a government to take, running the risk of public unrest. That is not the only problem. The permission includes  arms, which is bound to  cause concern to those Pakistanis who have noticed that weapons used by the occupying forces in Afghanistan proliferating in Pakistan, just as those used by the Soviet occupiers of the 1980s, have turned up and been sold in Pakistani markets. There has, incidentally, been no arrangement made for checking shipments into Afghanistan.

One thing that shows how much the present government is subservient to the USA is that it gave this signal favour to the USA without  making sure it addressed its legitimate concerns. Giving permission to another country to move arms across its territory is obviously a very important favour. It has been granted without any quid pro quo. This further illustrates the dangers of lack of parliamentary oversight. It should be seen that if this decision had been subjected to permission from Parliament, if it had to be without any quid pro quo, something which no state can give up, the reasons would have been known.

This decision must be explained to the public, and the best forum is Parliament. The best course would be for the government to reverse the notification, and not issue it until it has parliamentary approval for the decision, which it should get from the majority it has in both houses.