Pakistan firm on boycotting Afghan meet

Pakistan responded angrily to NATO strike on two military border posts by closing all NATO supply routes and asking the US to vacate Shamsi airbase.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2011, 17:54 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday stuck to its decision that it would boycott the key Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in the wake of a cross-border NATO air strike that killed its 24 soldiers, saying there was not a "very strong" case to reconsider the move.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the Cabinet had decided to boycott the Bonn meet and that she did not believe there is a "very strong case to reconsider this decision".

Pakistan could not be part of a process related to another country until it could preserve its own interests, she told reporters outside Parliament.

"We are willing to play a positive role but not at the cost of Pakistan," she said responding to questions on whether the government would review its decision to boycott the crucial meeting that will discuss the future of Afghanistan.

"How can we push other`s interests and what positive role can we play when there is no guarantee of our own sovereignty? There is no basis for joining this process if our territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interests are not protected," Khar said.

Pakistan responded angrily to Saturday`s NATO strike on two military border posts by closing all NATO supply routes and asking the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by
CIA-operated drones.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has refused to be swayed by calls from world leaders to reconsider the decision to boycott the Bonn Conference.

Khar said Pakistan`s ties with any country or grouping like NATO are based on its national interests and sovereignty and defending its territorial integrity.

After the NATO attack, it would be "impossible" for Pakistan to continue with the "current terms of engagement," she said.

There is a need for a "fundamental change" in the terms of engagement and the government is looking to Parliament to
provide directions in this regard, Khar said.

"We have no hostility towards any country and we want to be partners of the world in this effort," she said.

PTI