Islamabad: Honourable Speaker,
Members of this August House,
I wish to take the Parliament into confidence on the government’s position concerning the 26 November NATO attacks on Pakistan Army border posts in the Mohmand Agency.
Let me begin by saying that the sole guarantor of the supreme national interest of the state of Pakistan, are the people of our great country.
In every sense, the will of the people, as expressed by the Parliament, constitutes the only authentic policy prescription for safeguarding and promoting Pakistan’s national interests.
The situation arising from the 26 November attacks has direct implications for Pakistan’s security, sovereignty and territorial integrity and, therefore, requires careful consideration by the Parliament.
Let me now briefly recount the salient developments:
As you know, in the early hours of 26 November – in fact just past the midnight – two Pakistan Army posts in Mohmand Agency were subjected to air attacks by the US/NATO/ISAF. These positions were well inside Pakistani territory.
Hostile actions against these border posts continued for over an hour. The coordinates of these border posts were known to US/NATO/ISAF.
I decided to immediately call an emergency meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet the same evening. I also directed the Foreign Ministry to lodge strong protests with the United States, NATO Headquarters at Brussels and with the Afghan government.
The Government of Pakistan strongly condemned these attacks, which were violative of the principles of the UN Charter and international law. We also conveyed to the United States and NATO that these attacks were totally unacceptable and constituted a flagrant breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Defence Committee of the Cabinet, which met at the Prime Minister’s House in the evening of 26 November strongly condemned the attacks.
The DCC reiterated the resolve of the Pakistani people and Armed Forces to safeguard Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity at all costs.
In accordance with the Resolution of the Joint Session of the Parliament of 14 May 2011, the DCC decided to close, with immediate effect, the NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines.
The DCC also decided to ask the United States to vacate the Shamsi Airbase within fifteen days. The base has since been vacated.
The DCC decided that the Government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with the United States/NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence.
The DCC also decided that the Parliament shall be taken into confidence on the whole range of measures regarding matters relating to Pakistan’s future cooperation with the United States/NATO/ISAF.
The Federal Cabinet, at its meeting on 29 November, also condemned the NATO/ISAF attacks and termed them as an assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan. The Cabinet unanimously endorsed the statement and the decisions of the DCC emergency meeting.
The Cabinet called upon the international community to take due cognizance of such attacks, which constitute a violation of the UN Charter principles, international law and could have serious repercussions for regional peace and that all sides exercise utmost restraint.
The Cabinet decided that Pakistan should not participate in the Bonn Conference due to the prevailing circumstances.
It was also decided to request the National Security Committee of the Parliament to deliberate on the issue and submit its recommendations for consideration by the joint sitting of the Parliament.
The National Security Committee of the Parliament is already seized of this issue and will formulate appropriate recommendations. I have ensured that the Committee has full cooperation and support of all branches of the government.
I participated in the meeting of the National Security Committee of the Parliament on the subject held on 02 December 2011 and briefed the Committee. The Committee was also given a briefing on the incident by the GHQ. The Parliamentary Committee endorsed the decision not to participate in the Bonn Conference. We accordingly stayed away.
An Envoys Conference was convened in Islamabad to evaluate the regional security situation; examine policy options; and, in particular, to make recommendations on redefining the terms of cooperation and engagement with the United States, NATO/ISAF.
The conclusions and recommendations of the Conference have been submitted to the Government and also shared with the National Security Committee of the Parliament.
Let me emphatically state that there can be:
– No compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty.
– No compromise on Pakistan’s legitimate interests.
– Pakistan’s territorial frontiers will be defended at all costs.
I would also like to reiterate that Pakistan, as a peace-loving country, remains committed to promoting stability and peace in our region, in particular Afghanistan.
As a country that has suffered from terrorism, elimination of terrorism and militancy remains a high priority for the people and Government of Pakistan.
We had, in all earnestness, extended a hand of friendship to the people and government of Afghanistan. As immediate neighbours and sincere well-wishers of the people of Afghanistan, we remain committed to promote the best of relations in all spheres.
In the past, we had extended every cooperation to members of the international community in the counter-terrorism domain. However, the terms of our cooperation have certain well-defined redlines. These include the following:
– Sovereign equality and mutual respect.
– No unilateral actions inside Pakistan or against Pakistan.
– No transgression of our territorial frontiers.
As a responsible state, Pakistan will continue to uphold and promote the cause of regional peace and stability. However, in doing so we shall ensure that our legitimate interests are not only recognized but fully accommodated. This fundamental point of principle needs to be understood by our international partners.
It is a matter of immense satisfaction that the entire nation is united at all levels to uphold Pakistan’s national dignity and honour and to safeguard Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
We now await recommendations from the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. Future course of action will be decided by the Parliament.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604