Opening of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supplies in the national interest: Prime Minister

Islamabad, July 05, 2012 (PPI-OT): Prime Minister Raja Pevez Ashraf has said that the decision to open Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) for passage of NATO supplies through Pakistani territory was taken in the best national interest in the light of recommendations of Parliament.

The Prime Minister expressed these views while talking to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, President of PML-Q, and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Deputy Prime Minister who called on him at the PM House today.

The Prime Minister said that as the drawdown of the NATO/ISAF forces gets underway, Pakistan wanted to facilitate the process in the interest of regional peace and stability. He said that peace and stability in Afghanistan was closely linked to peace and stability in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan was partner of the international community and playing its leading role against forces of terrorism as a frontline state. He said that prolonged deadlock over the issue of NATO supplies could have hurt the country’s relations with the NATO countries, which included friendly countries as well as brotherly Muslim countries such as Turkey, Qatar and UAE.

The Prime Minister referred to passage of legislation from the European Parliament, which would enhance market access for the Pakistani exports from 2014 onwards under the Generalized System of Preference (Plus), which, he said, would not have been possible without the active support of some of the EU countries who are part of NATO.

The Prime Minister said that it was for the first time in the country’s history that a bipartisan parliamentary consensus was evolved on the broad contours of the foreign policy. He said that Pakistan made it clear that its red-lines should be respected and added in the same context that the new terms of engagement as approved by Parliament were visibly heeded by the US and NATO countries.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain supported the government’s decision to open NATO supplies, adding that no country could afford international diplomatic isolation. He said that the presence of US, NATO, ISAF forces in Afghanistan represented about 50 countries of the world under the UN mandate including brotherly Islamic countries such as Turkey etc. He said that the diplomatic impasse over the issue could have created problems for Pakistan at the UN.

He said that foreign policy decisions needed to be taken in a dispassionate and cool-headed manner as stakes are too high to be left at the mercy of emotions and irrational behaviour.

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