Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s unconditional invitation to President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the two-day NATO Summit in Chicago, which had focused on the endgame in Afghanistan, was an optimistic development in the prevailing gloomy Pakistan-United States relationship and NATO’s increasing problems due to suspension of ground line of communication by Pakistan since 2011.
President Zardari accepted the invitation and participated in the NATO’s Chicago summit. The presence and participation of Pakistani president in the Summit has contributed positively in the tense environment, but was not able to completely end the stalemate regarding the opening up of ground lines of communication. The current suspension of supplies to the US/NATO/ISAF troops in Afghanistan has increased the war suspending. The increase in financial burden annoys all members of NATO and ISAF.
The Pakistan president, in his speech at the Summit, stated that the cabinet’s Defence Committee “decided to direct the relevant officials to conclude negotiations for resumption of the Ground Lines of Communication.” He added: “Pakistan believed in partnerships based on trust and respect. Partnerships that will secure the future of our people.”
The hopes about resumption of smooth functioning between the United States and Pakistan were dashed when President Zardari declined to open the NATO supply routes prior to the settlement of the charge or tariff for each vehicle passing through Pakistan. In addition, Pakistan has also not budged from its demand, i.e. US apology over attack on Pakistani military post Salala on November 26, 2011. In a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Summit, President Zardari also asked President Obama to revise his administration’s drone air raid strategy.
Thus, in principle, the government has decided to recommence the suspended supply routes of the transatlantic alliance without compromising on the vital preconditions Pakistan’s Parliament had put in place.