After a short-lived defiance, our government seems to have surrendered on all points, without getting the US to accede to any of its demands. So much so that our Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar expressed her displeasure over ‘dragging of feet’ on the Nato supplies issue, as if those demanding a proper apology over the unwarranted and provoked killing of 24 our soldiers, stoppage of drone attacks, as well as asking for a more realistic charges to cover the damage to our roads by heavy the Nato trucks were being very irresponsible. It was further claimed that by keeping the route closed, we are annoying 49 other countries as well, while no mention was made of the fact that these countries hardly did anything for us even when they were supposedly friendly with us, being part of ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum.’ Apart from nearly 40,000 civilians and soldiers martyred due to our association with the US war on terror, we suffered nearly $ 70 billion worth of economic loss, which is far in excess of all aid received from the US from 1947 till now. Just how much do we have to suffer to meet the demands of our ungrateful ‘friends’ whose ultimate aim is to dismember and defang nuclear Pakistan, for which preparatory work has already been started through propaganda in the US and criminal activities in Balochistan and elsewhere.

ISAF just said “Nato’s International Security Assistance Force” condemns the indirect fire attacks from across the Durand Line.” The fact is that Fazalullah gang, Afghan National Army and others have been staging brutal raids on Pakistani villages as well as checkposts from their safe havens in Afghanistan which could not have remained unknown to the US and Nato. We will soon hear Hillary Clinton’s statement about ‘snakes in our back-yard, including Aiman-al-Zawahiri presence in Pakistan, arranging cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Seeing their pressure tactics work, the US leaders will only increase pressure on Pakistan.

With things being what they are, it is a bit strange that our government should be in a such a hurry to sign the memorandum of understanding regarding Nato supplies, and according to some reports, it obtained parliamentary approval without even disclosing the details.

According to the terms of the MoU on Nato supplies, Pakistan will provide facilities for the security and quick transfer of the cargo, which will be a difficult task considering that two long routes from Karachi to Afghanistan will be used. While it is clearly written in the draft that commercial carriers will be responsible for any damage to the goods, they could pass the ultimate responsibility on to Pakistan, claiming that damage occurred due to Pakistan’s failure to provide adequate security. In view of strong opposition to Nato supplies going through Pakistan, there are bound to be frequent attacks on the convoys. In fact, the government has already been forced to suspend supplies temporarily in order to arrange better security for the vehicles. If attacks become too frequent, which is more than likely, the US government may even demand to have boots on the ground to ensure safety of its cargo and use them to destabilise the country in pursuance of its ultimate goal to dismember and defang nuclear Pakistan.

I fail to see why is there such a desperation to sign the MoU because it only places some onerous duties on us, like arranging security of convoys, without bringing any corresponding benefits. Even if the government felt compelled to open the supply routes, it could have continued like before or given the MoU only six months validity, subject to renewal and Pakistan’s right to revise the terms. Why do we insist on tying our own hands for a long time while leaving the US and its accomplices free to raise new issues at will as a partof their harassment campaign.

S.R.H. HASHMI,

Karachi, July 29.