Pakistan has restored Nato’s food supplies via the aerial route on ‘humanitarian grounds.’ Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar who confirmed what Ambassador Munter had revealed about a week ago. He used the term humanitarian grounds which seems absurd, given that the main criticism against their reopening was the inhumane manslaughter of our troops at Salalah.
Apparently with such comments, the ground is being paved for full resumption of the supplies, which will reportedly start in March. There are other arguments, the government can come up with and plenty of them, the primary one of them being that Pakistan cannot settle scores with the US or for that matter it cannot continue to be defiant. Yet another point of view is that the blockade of over two and a half months itself constitutes a befitting punishment that must now end lest the relationship should experience a total break-up leading to further hostility. The decision that we are about to make - most probably lifting the embargo - would be to get perks including the aid largesse. What is quite interesting is that the government and COAS have issued similar statements, trying to suggest that the matter of resumption of supplies has been left to the parliament’s will. The parliament being a sacrosanct body, its decisions would apparently be accepted by all and sundry. The move is hence to avoid the criticism that would be flung at the government especially from the pressure group of Difah-e-Pakistan Conference which has threatened that in the event of resumption of supplies, it would besiege the parliament. Still, had it not been for its shrewdness, the PPP dispensation would not have lasted these tumultuous years with conspiracies and pitfalls at every turn. There is however not only the political aspect.
So far as the movement of the Nato trucks is concerned, it has caused immense damage to our roads estimated in billions. Secondly, it has been observed that often times, deadly weapons and other sinews of war fall into the hands of miscreants who have been using them for criminal activities in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. This has led to a general weaponization of Pakistani society that is a grim reminder of the Kalashnikov culture dating back to the Afghan-Soviet war.
However, before the government lifts the ban – whether it manages to get it done through the parliament - it must seriously consider the popular blowback. The public’s anger would be generally intense because as things stand there is little chance that the US will tender an official apology, even though one is justified and Pakistan is in the right for asking for one, given that President Obama faces an election year.