Pakistan seeks saving formula in NATO talks
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Pakistan seeks saving formula in NATO talks

Islamabad : Pakistan | May 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM PDT
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Panetta concerned about Pashtun Dr. Afridi who helped in bin Laden raid

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will probably not reopen supply routes to the soldiers of the NATO in Afghanistan unless the U.S.offers an acceptable formula in talks to end six months of deadlock over the issue, an official said Thursday Pakistan.

The official said the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had to be covered politically, considering the widespread anti-American sentiment in the country before the general elections scheduled for early next year.

"It's not fair to expect a decision any country that could be politically damaging before elections," said the official, who is familiar with the negotiations told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The United States has been pressing Pakistan to reopen supply routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan in difficult conversations that show no signs of a breakthrough in the near future.

Pakistan closed the routes, seen as vital to the planned withdrawal of most troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, to protest the killing last November of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO air strike near the Afghan border .

Higher traffic rates are the most difficult issue in the negotiations, the official said.

Pakistan is asking for a rate substantially higher than the current $ 250 per container or fuel truck that crosses their borders. He said it was unclear when an agreement could be reached, without elaborating.

"It could be tomorrow or it could be in two months," he said.

The U.S. frustration with Pakistan deepened on Wednesday after the Pakistani authorities was sentenced to 33 years in prison for a doctor accused of helping the CIA to find Osama bin Laden on charges of treason.

Shakil Afridi was charged with making false vaccination campaign, which collected DNA samples, believed to have helped the U.S. intelligence agency to track down bin Laden in a Pakistani city.

The al Qaeda leader killed in a raid by U.S. special forces last May in the city of Abbottabad, which severely damaged relations with Washington, a source of billions of dollars in assistance.

The extensive presence of bin Laden in Pakistan, is believed to have been there three years, despite a global search to find it generated suspicions in Washington that Pakistani intelligence officials have given him shelter.

Pakistani officials deny this and say that an intelligence gap allowed bin Laden to live there undetected.

Nobody has been charged so far to help the leader of Al Qaeda refuge in Pakistan. A government commission charged with investigating how he managed to evade capture by the Pakistani authorities for so long is accused of being ineffective.

Apart from discussions on supply routes for NATO, Pakistan and the U.S. have been trying to resolve other differences in their relations since the raid that killed bin Laden, who humiliated the country's powerful military.

Islamabad is demanding an apology by U.S. soldiers killed in Pakistani air raid on the border, but progress has been made on this issue, said the Pakistani official.

"We need some kind of apology," he said.

Pakistan also wants the U.S. to stop attacks drones on militants in its territory.

ZohaibAnwer is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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