Pak allows first NATO supplies in seven months

Pakistan began allowing NATO supplies to move out from a port in Karachi, a day after it lifted a seven-month blockade of vital routes to Afghanistan.

Last Updated: Jul 04, 2012, 17:45 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday began allowing NATO supplies to move out from a port in Karachi, a day after it lifted a seven-month blockade of vital routes to Afghanistan in the wake of the much-sought US apology for the killing of 24 of its soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Authorities at Port Qasim, Pakistan`s second busiest harbour, told the media that they had received instructions to allow the movement of NATO supplies after the payment of demurrage for the period when the goods were kept at the port.

Officials at the Chaman land border crossing in southwestern Balochistan province too told the media they had received instructions to prepare for the movement of NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

Pakistan`s Defence Committee of the Cabinet decided late Tuesday night to end the blockade of the supply lines after the US apologised for a cross-border NATO air strike that had killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a telephonic conversation with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, reiterated America`s "deepest regrets" for the NATO attack on November 26 last year, which had triggered a major diplomatic rift between the two countries.

"I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again," Clinton said.

Islamabad had shut the supply routes after the NATO attack last year.

PTI