Pakistan's parliament Thursday unanimously approved a list of conditions that the U.S. must meet if relations are to be restored and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan reopened. The parliament is demanding an immediate end to U.S. drone attacks and an unconditional apology for a NATO airstrike in November.
The 14-point set of recommendations was presented to Pakistan's parliament by Senator Raza Rabbani, chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security. He said in order to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the U.S. military must stop all incursions into Pakistan, including drone strikes.
“The U.S. footprint in Pakistan must be reviewed. This means, one, an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the territory and borders of Pakistan," said Rabbani. "Two, the cessation of infiltration into Pakistani territory on any pretext including hot pursuit. Three, Pakistani territory, including its airspace, shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.”
The recommendations also prohibit covert operations in Pakistan, and say no private security contractors or intelligence operatives will be allowed in the country.
Washington is eager to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan and will need the NATO supply routes for its planned 2014 drawdown of most combat troops in Afghanistan. But U.S. officials have not been willing to end drone strikes, which they say are key to success against al-Qaida and the Taliban. The drone attacks are believed to be carried out with the help of Pakistani intelligence.
The recommendations also say the U.S. should unconditionally apologize for a NATO cross-border airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani military personnel, and that those responsible for the attack should be brought to justice. The U.S. has expressed regret and called the incident an accident, but so far has refused to apologize.
After the November attacks, Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani virtually severed relations with the U.S. and closed down the NATO supply routes, subject to the parliamentary review.
The final version of the recommendations were developed with input from all political parties, including opposition members, and the armed forces.
The prime minister said that while the process required extensive negotiations and debate, the unanimous vote of support has brought parliamentary oversight and democratic accountability to the country's international security policy.
“Madame Speaker, we are making history today. This parliament has proven time and time again that when it comes to matters of national interest we can and do come together,” said Gilani.
He said the recommendations will be the guiding framework for negotiations with the United States. U.S. officials have said in the past they are seeking a balanced relationship with Pakistan that respects Pakistan's sovereignty but takes into account U.S. security needs.