Pakistan gives US 15 days to vacate base
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Sunday conveyed to her US counterpart Hillary Clinton Pakistan’s "deep sense of rage" over a deadly ISAF airstrikes, hours after Washington was asked to vacate a military base in Balochistan.
Violative of international law and Pakistan's sovereignty, attacks like Saturday's air raid on a military outposts that left at least 25 soldiers dead in the Mohmand tribal region were "totally unacceptable", she said in a telephone conversation with Clinton.
The Foreign Office said Khar spoke to Clinton in the wee hours of Sunday to inform her of decisions made by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. “The foreign minister conveyed to the secretary of state the deep sense of rage felt across Pakistan at the senseless loss of 24 soldiers."
Late on Saturday night, Pakistan asked the United States to vacate an airbase previously used for drone operations, hinting at a review of intelligence-sharing cooperation with NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.
The decision came at an emergency meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), which discuss the airstrike. A statement from the Prime Minister's Secretariat said: "The DCC decided to close, with immediate effect, the NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines. It also decided to ask the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase within 15 days."
It added the government would undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with Afghanistan-based foreign forces -- diplomatic, political, military and intelligence
Last year, the supply route remained closed for 11 days in the wake of ISAF helicopters' intrusion into Pakistani airspace and attack on a paramilitary force, killing two soldiers. However, the supplies resumed after apologies from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO leaders.
Attended by federal ministers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), services chiefs and members of the committee, the meeting condemned the attack and expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who chaired the meeting, said that Parliament would be taken into confidence on the whole range of measures regarding matters relating to Pakistan's future cooperation with the US and ISAF.
Strong protests were lodged with the US and at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the statement said, adding the attack constituted a breach of sovereignty and a violation of international law besides denting the basis for Pakistan's cooperation against militancy and terror.
Police chief for the garrison town of Nowshera, Mohammad Hussain, confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News they had been ordered to stop all US and ISAF supply vehicles. The vehicles would not be allowed to proceed to Afghanistan until further orders from the federal government.
A Peshawar-based journalist, meanwhile, said that hundreds of trucks and fuel containers were seen parked on both sides of the road leading to the Torkham border crossing. No proper security arrangements were in place for the vehicle, he added.
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