NATO Supply; Reinstituted or Not? If Yes, Where Does Democratic Rationality Stand? Discussion with Humayun Akhtar Khan


November 26, 2011 attack on Salala check post ended in stoppage of NATO supply via Pakistan. It has been six months since the incident and there is rumor of NATO supply to be reinstituted. The government is insisting that NATO is not just about the US, rather it is a 48 member organization that consists of many countries and many of them are on good terms with Pakistan. The basic question is to see what would be decided and what would be in the best interests of the country.

What do you anticipate regarding this issue?

I believe whatever the government is suggesting now is what they should’ve considered six months earlier. Having said that according to the rules of business in Pakistan, international agreements are done by the government and then ratified by the cabinet. The decision of NATO supply was a consequence of after math inflicted post 9/11 events. I don’t know if this particular agreement was presented to the cabinet for ratification, at least in the past few years we have seen no such initiative.

However, in 2008 a new government took over. This new setup had every right to review the policies and bring amendments but surprisingly all the problems not only prevailed but we saw an increase in them. For instance drone attacks accelerated and NATO supply also increased. I do not believe that government can blame bureaucrats for hindering their efforts. If political leaders and administrators add value, the bureaucracy has no option but to accept.

Pakistan has lost almost 35000 soldiers. The Salala attack was a horror and the strange thing is that we never participated in the investigation nor took responsibility. If the government was a part of decision that ended up in NATO supplies and then drone attacks, why not cooperate in the investigation.

If rules of business are clearly documented and political institution like the parliament were involved at the time of the agreement then it is only fair to submit documentation regarding the initial agreement done, so that parliament can ascertain if the attack adheres or detaches from the conditions agreed upon. It is not rational to have ambiguous policies and lament in the face of loss.

The reaction after Salala attack is natural and understandable but drone attacks had initiated in January. An effort should have been made to hinder, then and there but the actual cause is that all aid depends on the US. The process has just been delayed, Pakistani government should have decided earlier. The sharp reaction from US has now made us to kneel.

Generally in trade negotiation nobody cares about the other. We can rationally deal with trade negotiations and yet stand our ground. I believe that it is not smart to engage in unnecessary skirmish when peaceful options are there. All throughout the world Parliaments are engaged for important agreements and decisions set aside by the senate.

Source: News Night – PTV News – 17 May 2012


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