Pakistan Observer

US aid & NATO supply route

Lt Col Zaheerul Hassan (R)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - Finally, President Barack Obama has signed a $662 billion national defence authorisation bill which freezes $700 million in aid to Pakistan until Islamabad gives assurances of helping it fight against the spread of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). After signing the bill Obama stated, “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” The bill for the year 2012 seeks to suspend 60 percent of $1.1 billion U.S. military aid to Pakistan till the time, secretaries of State and Defence report to the Congress that Islamabad is making progress in the war against terrorism particularly progress in strategies to counter IEDs.

The provisions of the bill reveals that the Defence Secretary would be requiring submitting a report to the Congress on a discussion of US strategic objectives in Pakistan; a listing of the terrorist or extremist organisations in the country opposing US goals and against which the US encourages it to take action. The report will also include discussion of the gaps in capabilities of Pakistani security units that will hamper the ability of Pakistan to take action against those organisations. U.S leadership should know that because of their injustice policies, Washington has lost one of her important frontline (Pakistan) of global war on terror. The strategically important Pakistan was forced to extend her cooperation to Russia under changing regional and global politics. Emerging scenario and double standards of Washington have created hatred effects against U.S in the masses. Patriotic policy makers are in the opinion that why Pakistan should compromise her interests at the cost of American objectives. Thus, time has come now that Islamabad should redefine foreign policy and reject U.S. policy of “do more”. In this connection The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNC) the Chairmanship of Raza Rabbani has also confirmed that new terms of engagement with U.S are under formulation.

Anyhow, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar already said that suspension of aid will directly affect the results of global of war and for its failure US would be responsible. The conditioning of aid will also add ill feelings in already deteriorating bilateral relationship between Washington and Islamabad. Obama’s final approval regarding conditioning of U.S. aid in fact has also indicated that U.S is least pushed about changed Pakistani masses’ opinion after NATO’s attack on the check post. Reasons of conditioning the U.S aid is totally baseless since Pakistan herself is also facing militancy and terrorism as result of one of the major ally to Washington in so called war on terror.

We all know that Pakistan is an agro based country but suffering with paucity of water and fertilizers which are the essentialities of boosting the agriculture. In this regard Pakistan is making Calcium Ammonium Nitrate for the last 40 years and whereas the world is for 60-70 years. Pakistan requirement is 600,000 metric tons per year (Fatima Group comprising Pak Arab Fertilizers and Fatima Fertilizers produce 300,000 metric tons each). The facts reveal that Pakistan is only producing less than 1% of total world production. I would like to mention here that total world production of 3.7 million ton which include, Europe 2.89, Pakistan (0.6). Moreover, India, China, Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries; Iran, Uzbekistan, Central Asia are also producing nitric acid. The chemical composition of IEDs states that 68% of nitric acid is necessary for manufacturing of local explosive devices, Pakistan which is only producing very meager quantity of Nitric Acid, therefore how can it made these devices with 60% Nitric Acid once the same chemical to promote fertilizer industry which is the basic element for development of arid regions and sandy soil.

Pakistan despite rejecting the U.S allegation of Americans asked Fatima Group and Border Security Forces to rectify the even remotest chance of smuggling of Calcium Ammonium Nitrite if there is any. In this regard Fatima Group took actions like; changed identification of bags by using different colour, cut down dealer ship in the northern region and reduced supplies and strict security arrangement. As we discussed that Pakistan’s fragile economy is heavily dependent on agriculture so cutting down on fertilizer output would hurt the sector and thus Pakistan cannot go for Ureas which is improvised of Nitrites. In short, accusing Pakistani fertilizer industry for provision of Nitric Acid to unauthorized people, alleging government for failing in controlling of smuggling and resultantly connecting $700 million U.S aid for getting assurances of not spreading improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is simply an effort of anti Pakistan propaganda.

Meanwhile, on January,2012 the spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen, claimed in Kabul that they wants to get relations with Pakistan back on track “as quickly as possible” to reopen its key supply route for foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan. it is mentionable here that Pakistan closed supply route to Afghanistan in November, choking supply line for the 130,000-strong US-led force, following a deadly air strike by the alliance force that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border. NATO’s spokesman tried to pretend that suspension of supply mainly affects the economy, wages and work for people who are in the transport business in Pakistan and Afghanistan and no danger to their forces since they have sufficient quantity of fuel and food.

According to the sources, at present , a total of 3,676 military vehicles, including military hardware, arms and 1,732 containers belonging to NATO forces are at the port which was suppose to be cargo to Afghanistan. Actually, the discontinuation of supplies has frustrated U.S authorities to the point where they are now weighing various options to move around the cargo stranded at various locations in Pakistan.

I think, any change in supply route would bring devastating effects on already crumbling U.S and European economy. Pakistan has now decided to delink herself from GWOT and react with the pressure. Any further nonsense against Pakistan in the part of NATO, ISAF or CIA will result into the failure of U.S. It is also highlighted here that respectable disengagement of U.S troops would not be possible without taking Pakistan into confidence.

Government should ensure that restoration of NATO’s supply through Pakistan should not be free of cost. In this connection fresh rule of business has to be evolved and NATO should be asked to pay the taxes for maintaining the infrastructure from Karachi to Pak-Afghan border. The tension in fragile relationship between the U.S and Pakistan has to be removed for establishment of regional peace. The solution in this relation depends upon; restoration of U.S aid, stopping drone attacks, non interference in Pak-Iran Gas Pipe Line Project, pressurizing India for resolving Kashmir Issue, stopping militancy in Balochistan and vacating Afghan region by 2013.

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