LAHORE - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is planning to close NATO supply routes into Afghanistan by the end of November if the federal government fails to end US drone strikes.
Insiders told The Nation on Tuesday that PTI had failed to pacify anti-US statements among the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now it was mulling a blockade of NATO supply lines by the end of November if the PML-N government failed to press the US for an end to drone attacks.
Imran Khan-led PTI is also considering withdrawing the support it had promised to the federal government during the All-Party Conference, if talks with the Taliban are not initiated by November-end. PTI would then devise a new strategy and take all the likeminded political forces onboard to open formal channels for dialogue with the Taliban, insiders said.
They further said one of the coalition partners of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had opened informal channels with the Taliban to get some breathing space for their government, besides convincing them that the KPK government did believe in a meaningful dialogue.
About the timeframe of the likely blockade of NATO supply lines, insiders said it had not yet been deliberated upon. He said PTI just wanted to stop US drone attacks which, according to it, was the responsibility of the federal government. “We don’t want to put at stake our relations with the superpower, but at the same time we can’t afford putting our political base at stake,” senior PTI leaders were quoted as having said.
“PTI was compelled to go for such an extreme step because it had no other option,” they argued as they recalled PTI had promised to bring an end to US-led drones operation and peace in the province through bringing the Taliban to negotiating table.
PTI leader Ijaz Chaudhry said PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was facing direct consequences of US drone attacks. If the federal government failed to end US drone attacks, what we should be doing other than closing NATO supply lines, he questioned.