The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) has finalized 35 recommendations for redefining relations with the USA. This need to re-evaluate the relationship arose from the incident in which Nato helicopter gunships fired on the Salalah checkpost and killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. In its deliberations on Wednesday, the PCNS finalized these recommendations by voice vote, which will now be conveyed to the government, subsequently to be passed by the National Assembly to debate and after adopt. The PCNS took enough time over drawing up recommendations, for the CIA to start drone strikes once again, with the attack in Miranshah on Tuesday being the first such strike since the Salalah attacks. The government, hopefully, will show urgency in debating and then adopting these recommendations.

The recommendations include putting all agreements with Nato and the USA in writing, as well as revising the tariff for Nato supplies, and revising the monitoring methods of the containers carrying them. The CNS also recommended specifically that strict notice be taken of drone attacks, and that the matter be linked to future engagements with the USA and Nato in the war on terror.

Though it may not be possible to end all relations with the USA, for not only is it the world’s sole superpower but it is also in direct occupation of neighbouring Afghanistan, but it is certainly possible to withdraw gracefully from the war on terror. That requires political will, but it would be better to do that than to keep bleeding and asking a reluctant public to support a war it does not wish to acknowledge as its own.

The government must prepare to use the PCNS recommendations to match national requirements and finally establish an even-footed relationship with the US. After this, the PCNS is to move on to the next item on its agenda, the memogate affair. The PCNS should be ready to carry out a free and fair investigation into a matter which also illustrates the murky Pakistani dependence on the US. The government itself stated that it gives the PCNS investigation priority over the Supreme Court; it must allow its trust in the PCNS to be justified by not allowing it to be influenced in any way.