In no hurry to reopen NATO supply routes: Pak

Parties’ consensus needed: Gilani

Written by Press Trust Of India | Islamabad | Published: April 4, 2012 12:52:46 am

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his government is in no hurry to reopen the NATO supply routes that were closed after a cross-border airstrike last year and that a decision on the issue will be made only after evolving consensus among political parties.

Gilani made the remarks during an interaction with reporters on board his special plane while flying back to Pakistan from China on Tuesday after attending the Boao Forum conference. He said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security will make a decision on the issue of reopening the supply routes to Afghanistan.

“Let the committee,which has representation from all political parties in parliament,decide what they want. The government has not set a timeframe for the committee to complete its deliberations and will wait for a final outcome,” the premier said. Since the reopening of the NATO supply routes is a “national security issue”,the government wants everybody on board,Gilani said.

The premier chaired a meeting of all political parties on March 29 that was also attended by the army and spy chiefs. However,an unnamed federal minister,referring to discussions on the issue of reopening NATO supply lines,told Dawn newspaper the government was “caught between the devil and the deep sea”. Though opposition parties had agreed Pakistan could not afford hostile posturing towards NATO countries in the long term,they were playing politics in public,the minister said.

Gilani’s remarks came against the backdrop of reports that Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides will visit Pakistan this week for talks that are part of the US re-engagement with Pakistani officials.

The supply routes have become a major issue in Pakistan where Hafiz Saeed,leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa,regularly campaigns against their reopening. Speaking to Al Jazeera,Saeed said a US move to place a $10m bounty on his head was prompted by his rallies against reopening of supply lines.

PM aircraft makes emergency landing

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and several federal ministers had a narrow escape Tuesday when their aircraft made emergency landing after experiencing technical problems. The aircraft made the emergency landing shortly after taking off from Rawalpindi. All persons aboard,including Gilani and Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan,were safe.

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