ISLAMABAD.July.1.Though the officials in Pakistan’s capital remained mum over the issue of reopening of logistics’ supplies for US-led forces in Afghanistan, but in practical terms, private containers have started their secret operations for the reopening of logistics supplies for US –led forces in land-locked state of Afghanistan, this correspondent has learned from well placed sources here Sunday.
Pakistan’s Ministry for External Affairs –the Foreign Office ,has been denying the reports of clandestine operations but an understanding between Pakistan military and US Central Command was reached during the last week of June to reopen supplies of essential commodities for NATO soldiers battling Taliban fighters.
According to the rules, the foreign office forwards NoCs to the Pakistan Air Force, which then allows the aircraft to fly over Pakistan.
However, a senior ministry official denied the foreign office had any part in granting such permission. The official said the role of the foreign office was that of a ‘post office’ in this case and it was the defense ministry and other concerned authorities, which were supposed to determine and grant permission for any planes carrying weapons.
When approached, foreign ministry spokesperson Moazam Ali Khan insisted that all decisions were being taken in line with the resolution of parliament.
“You have to ask this question from the Ministry of Defense,” he replied, when asked if Pakistan had permitted Nato to use its air corridor for transportation of weapons.
However, when contacted, the defense ministry threw the ball in the military’s court, which also refused to comment over the issue, saying it was the prerogative of the government.
Reluctance from the concerned authorities to publically speak on the subject is thought to be linked to the fact that none of the departments wants to take responsibility of allowing lethal supplies in via air.
The US, which has voiced frustration over the continued blockade of land routes, would not speak directly on the controversy.
A US embassy spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the development. “We continue to work with the government of Pakistan to resolve the political questions related to the Lines of Communication through Pakistan to supply US/Nato/Isaf forces in Afghanistan,” Mark Sroh commented while dodging questions regarding the supply of weapons through air.
Pakistan and the US are currently negotiating a new agreement to reopen land routes. However, talks are deadlocked over the issue of an apology, which Islamabad has been demanding by the US over last year’s NATO cross border raid in Salala that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.
Earlier this year, Pakistan confirmed that it allowed NATO planes carrying non-lethal supplies to use its air space. But Islamabad has never publically acknowledged that it also granted permission for transportation of weapons.