US-Pak at odds with each other over NATO probe

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 20:49

Islamabad/Washington: Pakistan and US find
themselves at odds with each other again with Islamabad
rejecting the American probe into the deadly NATO cross border
strike that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead and Washington
standing by it "100 per cent".

The first salvo was fired by the Pakistan Army which
yesterday officially rejected the probe report of the November
26 attack prepared by American Brigadier General Stephen
Clark saying Islamabad does not agree with several portions
and findings of the `Investigation Report` as these are not
factually correct.

The Pakistan Army also argued that the NATO strike was an
"unprovoked attack".

Hours later, the Pentagon struck back saying US stands by
its own investigation that it was not an unprovoked firing by
the US-led forces.

"This (Pakistan military remarks) does not change our
believes in the validity of the findings. The statement that
this was an unprovoked attack by American forces is simply
false," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby said.

Asserting that the US stands "100 per cent" by the
investigation done by a top general from the Central Command
(CENTOCM) released last month, Kirby said the US had desired
Pakistani participation in that investigation, which then
would have been more thorough.

Pakistan`s absence from participation in the CENTCOM
investigation, Kirby said: "does not change our firm believe
in the validity of the findings of the investigations that we
did".

The Pakistani army which had issued a statement yesterday
rejecting the probe report, have also uploaded a detailed
"Pakistani Perspective on the US Investigation Report",
approved by Pakistan`s Defence Committee of the Cabinet, on
its media arm ISPR`s website.

Saying that it has received the unclassified version of
the probe report, Pakistan has demanded that "full and
complete classified version of the US Investigation Report be
made available."

It has also sought provision of Intelligence Surveillance
and Reconnaissance picture of the complete incident along with
all aerial platform videos and record of radio transmissions
and communication between the crew(s) of the aerial platforms
involved in the incident.

The NATO strike was a huge setback to the then already
tense US-Pak relations.

Pakistan had reacted angrily after the soldiers were
killed and 13 more injured when NATO helicopters and combat
jets from Afghanistan targeted two military check posts in
Salala area of Mohmand tribal region.

Islamabad shut down all NATO supply routes and forced the
US to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was reportedly used by
CIA-operated drones.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced shortly after
the attacks that it could not be "business as usual" between
Pakistan and the US.

Acting on Gilani`s instructions, a parliamentary committee
has framed over 30 recommendations for the revamp of bilateral
relations.

A joint session of parliament is expected to debate these
recommendations next month.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 20:49

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