The Public Accounts Committee’s complaint that the US was using our airspace without paying charges points to yet another way of what largesse we are to be credited with, in our conduct of our affairs as concerns the Afghan War. While it would be foolhardy to expect the US to volunteer to pay for airspace use, it is most definitely expected of our government to charge the US for the facility of transit through our airspace, as is the norm not just for military aircraft, but even for commercial aircarriers.

Can we really blame the US when our Secretary Defence in the Public Accounts Committee makes the revelation that the airspace transit has been free of cost up till now? Should this announcement not have been followed up with a request to see under what documentation such a decision achieved legality and with whose signatures it is sanctified? If such an agreement does not exist, that too is a matter of serious concern if Pakistan is to claim that it is not a banana republic. A sovereign country must claim full charge of all of its affairs, or not lament later on being taken advantage of. Here we cannot so much as ensure that we charge others for the legitimate use of our assets. It is late but still encouraging that the PAC has shown its concern. It now has to be seen what comes of the Secretary Defence’s sudden epiphany and whether Pakistan is the richer for it.