Pakistani parties react to Islamabad’s plan to reopen NATO routes

Pakistan's Top Opposition Parties Have Warned The Government Against Reopening Supply Routes To The US-Led Military Forces In Afghanistan


Pakistani activists shout slogans during a rally against the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan in Peshawar. (File photo)
The mainstream political and religious parties in Pakistan vowed to hold massive public protests to resist the decision, which was suggested in comments earlier made by Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. 

Khar said on Monday that Islamabad could not indefinitely continue the suspension of NATO supply routes to punish the United States. 

The closure of border crossings with Afghanistan was prompted by the killing of 24 Pakistani army soldiers in an unauthorized US air attack on a tribal district bordering Afghanistan in November 2011. 

"It was important to make a point… Pakistan has made a point and now we can move on," she told a news conference in Islamabad. 

But Sadiqul Farooq, a spokesman for Pakistan’s largest political opposition party PML-N, said the reopening would amount to a violation of the country’s sovereignty and would be against the wishes of the public. 

“We are against the decision…there is no doubt about it. We will oppose the move and staged massive public protests in and outside of the parliament,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s largest religious political party Jamat-e-Islami has criticized Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his cabinet for considering the measure, vowing to “create every possible hurdle against… their evil schemes.” 

NATO supplies are suicidal for Pakistan’s nation because it contains weapons and equipment used for the bombardment of Pakistani soldiers and people, the party’s Secretary General Liaquat Baloch stated. 

He also described NATO’s use of the Pakistani territory to send provisions as destabilizing to the country and accused the US of covert operations for raising unrest in Baluchistan Province. 

Separately, JUI-F and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf vowed to oppose government's decision to restore NATO’s supply lines. 

The remarks come amid the CIA’s continued assassination drone attacks on Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, Washington claims Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders are hiding. 

The United States has also turned down Islamabad’s call for a formal apology for last November’s deadly attack on the Pakistani army outposts.