Parliamentary Committee seeks US apology over border strikes
Parliamentary Committee on National Security Tuesday recommended to the government to seek unconditional apology from the US strikes on border posts that killed 24 soldiers in November. The committee report tabled in the parliament also called for halt to US drone attacks and other operations on Pakistan's soil. It called upon Washington to review its presence in the region, according to the recommendations presented to the joint session of the Parliament. Much awaited recommendations of a parliamentary committee on Pakistan’s national tasked to compile recommendations for new terms of engagement with US in the aftermath of US raid on Pakistani posts that killed 24 soldiers, was tabled in the joint session of the parliament on Tuesday. Head of the Parliamentary Committee on the National Security and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart Senator Raza Rabbani tabled the report consist of 40 recommendations in the session chaired by Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bukhrai. The PNSC report call for end to drone attacks as it proved counterproductive, fanning anti-American sentiments and inflicting colossal financial losses to Pakistan.
It also said that there would no US boot on ground in Pakistan and any operation on its territory would not be tolerated without prior consent of the parliament. The report said that taxes be levied on Nato supplies, adding that the supplies routes should not be opened before an agreement is reached in this regard. The PNSC report said that any covert or overt operation on Pakistani soil would need parliament’s approval. It said that the US-India civil nuclear deal affected regional balance of power and called for US to help Pakistan in the same manner so that it could get rid of energy crises. Pakistan has also sought unconditional apology from the US over attack on military check post in Mohmand Agency which left 24 soldiers dead in November last year. “The government of Pakistan should review its 19 June, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the US,” Rabbani said. He said “drone attacks are igniting more terrorism and extremism in the country. We have rendered unprecedented sacrifice in this war and reaffirm our commitment to root out terror from the region.” “The US should stop chasing any hot pursuit on our soil and review its presence in the region,” the parliamentary body recommended. It said “There should not be any compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear program,” he added. “These are the guidelines for terms of engagement with the US. I hope that the house will make a final decision freely and sovereignly,” Rabbani expressed hope. Pak-US ties has come under immense strains for months over Osama bin Laden’s killing in Abbottabad last May and the deadly NATO attack on Salala Checkpost bordering Afghanistan in November last year, prompting Islamabad to blocked the NATO supplies. The 17-member body, headed by Raza Rabbani, finalised its report in the third week of January after more than a month of deliberation. After presentation of the report, a debate is likely to be opened in the house by opposition leader in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and concluded with the passage of resolution reflecting views of both the 342-seat National Assembly and the 104-seat Senate. The joint session of the upper and lower house of the Parliament, chaired by newly elected Senate Chairman Nayyar Bukhari, was later adjourned till March 26. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar earlier said the fate of Pak-US ties rests with the Parliament to decide. It should be mentioned here US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman was earlier disallowed to visit the country until the recommendations are tabled. The US top official Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also earlier remarked that her country is looking forward to the recommendations of the Parliamentary committee.