LAHORE – As the Nato Heads of State are scheduled to assemble in Chicago on May 20-21 for a key summit with major focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan has been invited as ‘special participant’ to attend the parleys. “Pakistan has been extended an invitation to the Nato summit in pursuit of an early opening of the transit route to Afghanistan,” an official in the Foreign Ministry said on the condition of anonymity Friday. Sources said the Nato summiteers would be under pressure to acquiesce Barack Obama’s pre-election requirements that demand turning the Chicago summit into a moment of zealous change. “The salient and the longstanding agenda item of the summit will be Afghanistan, from where foreign troops are to be retrieved,” diplomatic sources said. Ten years in Afghanistan, the leaders will contemplate dynamics to evict their forces out of Afghanistan, according to sources. Pakistan is not a member of Nato involved in Afghanistan but is key US-ally in the global war on terror. Former US president George W Bush in defiance of Article-5 of the Nato declaration had led his country to the war on Afghanistan and “now his successor (Barack Obama), who for internal and external impediments, is being forced to call it a day in Afghanistan”, sources added. Since the summit is being held in President’s hometown, all eyes are set on this summit’s deliverables. One of the deliverables in the final communiqué may comprise an acknowledgement by the alliance that its long-standing mission in Afghanistan has been a sequential success. Such a claim will be surmised on crippling Qaeda as a strategic terrorist group operating out of Afghanistan, effectively completing basic state infrastructure, and showing that Nato’s Afghan mission has proved alliance’s affective utility and garnered more confidence and unity within its members, defence analysts say. Whereas Nato defence ministers and permanent representatives of the alliance have completed their homework on the finer points of the agenda in the lead time towards the Summit, the White House has been active in pressurising the Nato member states to press Afghanistan to expedite the endorsement of a strategic deal between Afghanistan and the US before the Chicago summit takes place. According to diplomatic sources, so far Afghanistan has resisted signing of the document for its anti-sovereignty contents. In a self-styled arrogant handling of relationship with Kabul, the US document is reflective of coercion and threats. President Karzai has demanded that the agreement should ensure Afghan sovereignty, an end to night raids by Isaf and transfer of the Bagram prison to Afghanistan before he could consider signing the agreement. He has been invited to the Nato summit where he may sign the agreement under pressure of member states, if US fails to manage it before the summit. With a shaky regional environment exacerbated by the mounting rift between the US and Iran, the possibility of Afghan reconciliation may be impeded and affect transition plans. US relations with Pakistan are still in doldrums due to Americans’ repeated attacks on Pakistan’s sovereignty — merciless killings of 26 soldiers in aerial strikes on Salala military checkpost and the latest to add to the gruesome inventory was a hefty declaration of US bounty worth $10 million on Hafiz Saeed. Announcing the reward on Hafiz Saeed is indicative of more sinister steps that the US would take in future against its long-time ally Pakistan, if it does not get its way through. James Miller, the US Under Secretary for Policy, warned Pakistan that if Islamabad does not address terror threats, the US will have a range of options. First US option has already been applied as US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told Indian officials in New Delhi that $10 million bounty had been declared by the US for providing evidence of Hafiz Saeed involvement in terror activities. According to US General Dempsey, it is vital that Pakistan opens this Nato route for two reasons — transportation of vital military hardware for upcoming combat and retrieving the military equipment of the US and Nato alliance through progressive withdrawal. However, until the relations between the two countries are resurrected to their full potential the current tensions and diverting interest points to an uncertain regional future that can potentially affect America’s intervention in Afghanistan and its subsequent withdrawal.