‘Pakistan-US ties face profound, existential problems’

March 21st, 2012 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 21 (IANS) There can be no worse indication of the state of Pakistan-US ties than Washington refusing to apologise for the deaths of soldiers in a NATO airstrike last November, a leading daily said Wednesday. It also wanted the US to respect the recommendations of a parliamentary panel for reducing the strain.

“It was increasingly clear that far beyond communication failures and chain-of-command issues, the Pakistan-US relationship faced profound, existential problems, not least deep suspicions of each other,” an editorial in the News International said.

It said that the exchange of reports, accusations and counter-accusations since the Salala attack in which two dozen Pakistani soldiers were killed has “laid bare the extent of this mistrust”.

The daily said it was timely that Pakistani lawmakers were now debating the terms of re-engagement with the US as encapsulated in the report of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

“The exercise should result in making the consequent policies more representative and acceptable, it is also important to objectively review the parliamentary committee’s recommendations and assess their appropriateness and feasibility,” it advised.

“Among the salient features of the draft being discussed is the demand for an unconditional apology for the Salala attack. There can be no worse indication of the state of ties than that the US refuses to apologise for the deaths of our soldiers in an unprovoked attack,” the editorial added.

It hoped that good news will come in the wake of the parliamentary demand and “quarrelling will give way to the long-overdue apology”.

The parliamentary committee has recommended that that there be an end to unilateral operations and that prior permission be sought and transparency ensured on the number and presence of foreign intelligence operatives in Pakistan.

“This is all do-able and the US must comply if the strain in relations is to be reduced,” said the editorial.

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