Pak airspace may be closed for US: Gilani

Gilani said the NATO convoys may be blocked for several weeks.

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2011, 23:59 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan may continue blocking
NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan for several weeks and
would not rule out closing its airspace to the US, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday.

Gilani said there was a "credibility gap" between
Pakistan and the US, and the two sides need to develop greater
trust. He made the remarks during an interview with BBC.

Pakistan stopped NATO convoys and asked the US to vacate
Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones, to
protest a NATO air strike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers
last month.

Gilani said the NATO convoys may be blocked for several
weeks. He refused to rule out closing Pakistan`s airspace to
the US. Asked if he believed NATO attacks had been deliberate
and pre-planned, Gilani replied: "Apparently so".

Pakistan and the US needed to trust each other better, he
said. "Yes, there is a credibility gap, we are working
together and still we don`t trust each other," he said.

"I think we have to improve our relationship, so that for
the better results, we should have more confidence in each
other," Gilani said.

Meeting the deadline set by Pakistan after the NATO air
strike, the US today vacated Shamsi airbase.

NATO has apologised for the air strike, calling the
attack a "tragic unintended incident".

The air strike on November 26 marked a fresh low in
relations between Washington and Islamabad, which were already
strained by the killing of two men by CIA contractor Raymond
Davis and the US military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in
Abottabad in May.

NATO forces in Afghanistan rely on overland supply routes
from the Pakistani port of Karachi for almost half their
supplies.

Hundreds of container trucks and oil tankers have been
parked near border crossings since Pakistan closed the supply
routes. Gilani also said he would investigate the blocking of
BBC World News by Pakistani cable operators.

The operators have said the move was a response to the
BBC documentary `Secret Pakistan`, which alleged the
Inter-Services Intelligence agency was backing and training
several militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We welcome the Prime Minister`s
support of free speech and promise to investigate this ban.
We call on the government to carry out an investigation
rapidly and for BBC services to be restored in Pakistan."

PTI