Washington, June 5: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said the United States will have to apologise for the air raid, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year, if it wants Pakistan to reopen key supply routes into Afghanistan.
Angered over the lethal November attack, Islamabad shut the supply routes vital for U.S. and allied troops, forcing the alliance to rely on longer and more expensive northern routes through Russia and Central Asia, reports The Dawn.
A U.S. apology is “something which should have been forthcoming the day this incident happened and what a partnership not only demands, but requires,” Khar said.
According to the paper, with U.S. elections looming in November, President Barack Obama is unlikely to apologise to Pakistan and make himself vulnerable to attacks from his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
A NATO summit in Chicago ended two weeks ago without a deal on the NATO supply lines.
Khar, however, said that despite the political challenges, the U.S. should live up to its principles of doing “what we consider to be right, rather than what is more popular.”
“For us in Pakistan… the most popular thing to do right now is to not move on NATO supply routes at all. It is to close them forever,” she said.
The roads through Pakistan, now blocked for over six months, are a crucial logistical link for NATO as it plans a large-scale withdrawal of combat troops and hardware from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Yet U.S. officials have so far rejected Pakistani proposals to charge steep fees of several thousand dollars for each alliance truck crossing the border. (ANI)