Pakistan has so far demonstrated strong resolve to not allow supplies meant for Nato troops operating in Afghanistan to pass through its territory. The two Pakistani routes Nato was using to receive its goods were blocked in reaction to the killing of 26 of our security personnel by its helicopters late November last year. President Zardari and COAS General Kayani meeting on Friday on the occasion of the investiture of Naval Chief Admiral Asif Shandila, who was decorated with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, decided to maintain the blockade. They expressed satisfaction over the way the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) was preparing its recommendations in this regard. However, certain press reports attributed to the country’s ruling circles tend to create the impression that the containers and trucks carrying these supplies and stranded on our roads might soon resume their journey. The only hitch in their resumption, it seems, is the non-completion of the review of Pak-US relations. Once the review has been done and the PCNS’s recommendations receive approval of Parliament, which is expected to be given by the first week of February, that hitch would stand removed.

In the meantime, there are also reports that Western powers are threatening a reduction in trade concessions given to Pakistan for its export earnings, if it maintains the blockade for an indefinite period. According to a reliable source, Pakistan is seriously considering this threat and would soon finalise its policy on the issue in order to bring home to these powers that it needs firm commitments of respect for its vital interests, including its territorial sovereignty, before the supplies could be resumed.

On the other hand, the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC), a body comprising various religious parties, at a meeting of the DPC held at Islamabad on Friday also warned the government that unless it changed the policies it is currently pursuing, a comprehensive strategy would be framed to oppose them. The PPP-led government, if it is interested in regaining a modicum of popular support it has so wantonly lost over the past four years, must listen to vox populi, or appease it at least, if not preferably reason with it. The US has not thus far tendered a formal apology for the death of our soldiers. We must use this opportunity to bring to a close our cooperation with in the war on terror, until such time, as the Pakistani public demands.