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parlimentISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) Tuesday presented its recommendations to the Parliament for new rules of engagement and an independent foreign policy according to the inspirations of the nation.

Presenting guidelines for revised terms of engagement with the USA/NATO/ISAF and general foreign policy, Chairman of the committee Mian Raza Rabbani said," the Parliament has three options, it can either accept the recommendations, accept them with amendments or totally reject them".

The Parliamentary Committee recommended that in the new rules of engagement Pakistan's sovereignty shall not be compromised. The gap between assertions and facts on the ground needs to be qualitatively bridged through effective steps.The relationship with the United Sataes of America (USA) should be based on mutual respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other.

It said that the government needs to ensure that the principles of an independent foreign policy must be grounded in strict adherence to the Principles of Policy as stated in Article 40 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the United Nations (UN) Charter and observance of international law.

"The US must review its footprints in Pakistan. This means: i) the cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan; ii) no hot pursuit or boots on Pakistani territory and iii) the activity of foreign private security contractors must be transparent and subject to Pakistani law.

"It needs to be realized that drone attacks are counter productive, cause loss of valuable lives and property, radicalize the local population, create support for terrorists and fuel anti-American sentiments."

The committee recommended that Pakistan's nuclear programme and assets, including its safety and security, cannot be compromised. The US-Indo civil nuclear agreement has significantly altered the strategic balance in the region, therefore, Pakistan should seek from the US and others a similar treatment/facility. The strategic position of Pakistan vis-a-vis India on the subject of FMCT must not be compromised and this principle be kept in view in negotiations on this matter.

The Parliamentary Committee further recommended that Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to the elimination of terrorism and combating extremism in pursuance of its national interests and stressed that no overt or covert operation inside Pakistan shall be tolerated.

It condemned the unprovoked NATO/ISAF attack resulting in the martyrdom of 24 Pakistani soldiers, which is a breach of international law, besides a blatant violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It said that the Government of Pakistan should seek an unconditional apology from the US for the unprovoked incident of Nov 25-26, 2011 in Mohmand Agency. In addition the following measures be taken:

i) Those held responsible for the Mohmand Agency attack should be brought to justice.

ii) Pakistan should be given assurances that such attacks or any other acts impinging on Pakistan's sovereignty, will not recur and that NATO/ISAF/US will take effective measures to avoid any such violations.

iii) Any use of Pakistani bases or airspace by foreign forces would require Parliamentary approval.

iv) The Ministry of Defence/PAF and ISAF/US/NATO should draft new flying rules for areas contiguous to the border.

The committee said that any consideration regarding the reopening of NATO/ISAF/US supply routes must be contingent upon a thorough revision of the terms and conditions of the arrangement, including regulation and control of movement of goods and personnel which shall be subject to strict monitoring within Pakistan, on entry, transit and exit points.

It recommended that no verbal agreement regarding national security shall be entered into by the government, its ministries, divisions, departments, attached departments, autonomous bodies or other organizations with any foreign government or authority.

If any such agreement exists it should be reduced to writing immediately, failing which it shall cease to have effect within three months of the approval of these recommendations, it added.

The committee said Pakistan's territory has been used by US/NATO/ISAF for logistic purposes and in this context, made the following recommendations:

i) The Government of Pakistan should revisit the MOU, dated 19th June, 2002 between the Ministry of Defence of Pakistan and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland acting as Lead Nation for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ii) Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (US-PK-01) between the Department of Defence of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defence of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, dated 9th February, 2002, lapses in February, 2012.

This agreement and any implementing agreements there under may only be renewed if required on new terms and conditions that should include respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and ensures the national interests.

Provided in case of renegotiation of the said Agreement/MOU it should, inter alia, provide a clause on immediate suspension of transit facility through the territory of Pakistan if US/NATO/ISAF forces violate in any manner the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan, it added.

The Parliamentary Committee for National Security also recommended that for negotiating or re-negotiating agreements/MOU's pertaining to or dealing with matters of national security, the following procedure shall be adopted:

i) All agreements/MOU's, including military cooperation and logistics, will be circulated to the Foreign Ministry and all ministries concerned, attached or affiliated organizations and departments for their views;

ii) All agreements/MOU's will be vetted by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs;

iii) All agreements/MOU's will be circulated to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. The Committee shall vet and make recommendations in consultation with the stakeholders and forward the ame to the Federal Cabinet for approval under the Rules of Business of the Federal Government;

iv) The minister concerned will make a policy statement on the agreements/MOU's in both Houses of the Parliament.

The committee stated that there should be prior-permission and transparency on the number and presence of foreign intelligence operatives in Pakistan.

It recommended that 50 percent of US/ISAF/NATO containers may be handled through Pakistan Railways.

Taxes and other charges must be levied on all goods imported in or transiting through Pakistan, for use of infrastructure and to compensate for its deterioration. Such charges shall be inter alia used mainly to maintain and support infrastructure of Karachi-Torkham and Karachi-Chaman roads.

It said that the international community should recognize Pakistan's colossal human and economic losses and continued suffering due to the war on terror. In the minimum; greater market access of Pakistan's exports to the US, NATO countries and global markets should be actively pursued.

In the battle for the hearts and minds an inclusive process based on primacy of dialogue and Reconciliation should' be adopted. Such process must respect local customs, traditions; values and religious beliefs, it added.

The committee endorsed that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and efforts must be undertaken to promote a genuine, national reconciliation in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.

To strengthen security along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, including the cross-border flow of criminal elements, narcotics and weapons, the feasibility of additional measures, including electronic surveillance may be evaluated and the process of local joint Jirgas should be encouraged according to local customs and traditions.

The Parliamentary Committee recommended that the Pakistani territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries and all foreign fighters, if found, shall be expelled from the soil. Likewise, Pakistan does not expect the soil of other countries to be used against it.

It said that a new fast track process of billings and payments/ reimbursements with regard to Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and other leviable charges should be adopted.

It said the government needs to review the present focus of foreign policy keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. It needs to establish a balance by emphasizing links with the traditional allies and building new relationships for diversifying the sources of economic, military and political support.

In this regard it may take the following amongst other steps:

i) Pakistan's foreign policy must continue to focus on creating a peaceful environment in the region to pursue the goals of economic development and social progress;

ii) The dialogue process with India should be continued in a purposeful and result-oriented manner on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest / including efforts for the solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Resolution;

iii) Special attention must continue to be paid to developing close cooperative relations with neighbours;

iv) The strategic partnership with China must be deepened in all its dimensions;

v) Relationship with the Russian Federation should be further strengthened;

vi) Pakistan's support for the promotion of peace and stability in Afghanistan remains the cornerstone of its foreign policy;

vii) Pakistan's special relationship with the Islamic world should be reinforced;

viii) Pakistan's full membership of SCO should be actively pursued

ix) Pakistan's bilateral relationships in the region and its institutional partnership with ASEAN must be upgraded and strengthened; and

(X) Pakistan should actively pursue the gas pipeline project with Iran.


Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2012


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