Need to "rewrite" terms of engagement with US: Pak

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 00:05

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said its relations
with the US, marked by "many ups and downs" this year, had
reached a point where it had become necessary to "rewrite" the
bilateral terms of engagement in order to bring ties on an
even keel.

Referring to incidents like the gunning down of two
Pakistani men by CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore in
January and last month`s NATO air strike that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said
a reappraisal of bilateral ties would help the two sides focus
on realistic objectives.

"Pakistan-US relations have witnessed many ups and
downs. From the Raymond Davis case to the November 26 US-NATO
attacks on the two Pakistani posts at Salala, things have come
to a point where it is necessary to rewrite our bilateral
terms of engagement," Basit said.

"This will be good for both our countries as policies
based on realistic and shared objectives would be far more
tenable than a relationship facing frequent strains because of
opaqueness and unilateral actions," he added.

Pakistan wants its relations with the US to be based on
"mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual interest", he said
while recapitulating key developments in foreign policy during
the year.

Islamabad has struggled throughout the year to bring
its relations with Washington back on an even keel following a
string of crises, including strains caused by the US military
raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

Relations between Pakistan and the US, nominally key
allies in the decade-old war on terror, teetered from one
crisis to the next almost since the beginning of the year,
prompting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to order the
framing of new "terms of engagement" for the US and NATO.

Basit acknowledged the numerous problems affecting ties
with the US but insisted that the two sides had not snapped
contacts.

"We are on speaking terms with the US. Doubtless there
are problems but we are trying to put our relations on a track
that is transparent and in sync with our aspirations.

I am reluctant to discuss specifics, as the matter is
with the Parliamentary Committee (on National Security)," he
said.

The parliamentary panel is currently framing
recommendations for new terms of engagement with the US that
will be debated by a joint session of the National Assembly
and Senate.

PTI

First Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 00:05

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