‘Pak must reopen supply route after negotiations’

Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said Pak should reopen routes used to ferry supplies for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Islamabad: Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed
Mukhtar on Tuesday said Pakistan should reopen routes used to ferry
supplies for foreign troops in Afghanistan after getting the
US to agree to its terms and conditions.

Pakistan should conduct negotiations with the US on these
"terms and conditions" and once an agreement is reached, the
supply routes could be reopened, Mukhtar told the media. He
did not give details about the conditions.

Mukhtar said he had never stated that the NATO supply
routes should be reopened immediately. "There should not be
any misunderstandings with the US. Our two countries have
enjoyed good ties and it is our duty to mend relations," he

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said last week that it
would not be much of a problem to reopen the supply routes
after a parliamentary review of Pakistan-US relations.

Mukhtar expressed a similar view, saying: "I think the
people who are deciding, who are giving recommendations, will
make the right decision."

However, he remarked that the two sides were yet to
resolve their differences on US drone attacks in Pakistan`s
tribal belt. Islamabad will continue to raise this issue until
the differences are resolved, he said.

Pakistan closed the supply routes after a cross-border
NATO air strike on military border posts killed 24 Pakistani
soldiers in November last year. The two sides have traded
charges on the incident, with Islamabad insisting that the
attack was deliberate.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered a
parliamentary review of Pakistan-US relations. Officials have
suggested that the government should levy a fee on every truck
and tanker transporting supplies for NATO forces through
Pakistani territory.

The Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a grouping of some 40
extremist and religious groups formed by the Jamaat-ud-Dawah,
has vowed to oppose any move by the government to reopen the
NATO supply routes.