In a move that would shock a great many people, the PML-N has given an inclination that it can agree to the restoration of Nato supplies subject to the condition that drone attacks should be stopped first. The other day Senator Ishaq Dar also talked about five concessions in return for restoration of Nato supplies. These are; an end to the drone attacks, an end to hot pursuit, respecting the country’s airspace, punishment for Salalah attack perpetrators and grant of civil nuclear technology to Pakistan.
For one thing, this seems like a tall order, given the US past record. However, of immediate concern is the PML-N’s U-turn. It appears it has forgotten its promise that there would be no compromise on Nato supplies. Back then, for the party, the drone attacks and the goods embargo were two separate issues but at the same time both were seen as evils that had to be simultaneously dispended. It was in defence of this very approach that the party had to boycott Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s sessions. One wonders what is stopping the PML-N from sticking to its guns while also demanding an end to drone strikes. And what about the ongoing wave of anti-Americanism simmering across the country? Linking one with the other when both the choices are completely unacceptable to the masses, is a shortcut and the PML N's u-turn will serve to further confuse. What is further strange is to hear that the PML-N has agreed to this formula after a telephone call by Prime Minister Gilani. This is a far cry from the state of commitment that the PML-N boasted of and gives weight to the view that the parties are all on one page and only wreak emotional havoc with wildly swinging stances on key issues, to keep people guessing, while trying to extract their sympathies.
Under the circumstances, when the US is bogged down in Afghanistan, Pakistan should deal with it from a position of strength. During the decade of war on terror, there is virtually nothing short of an open war that the US has not resorted to. Starting from the drone attacks, to directly attacking our military checkposts, suspending aid, and concurrently egging India on in its bid to destabilise the country. It is now time to at least to point to the fact that our national interest should come first to those of the Americans. It is also the opportunity to take out the element of subservience and inequality from the Pak-US equation. The PML-N needs to announce a strategy and then stick to it, instead of flip-flopping indecisively after promising to take a certain stand. Better if, to begin with, it would take a stand based on a long-term view, instead of a knee-jerk reaction, if it feels it may have to withdraw from it.