Islamabad, An editorial in a Pakistan daily has said the country must attend the Chicago Summit and be clear about its position, which is still unclear to Pakistanis and the world alike.
The editorial states that if the intent is to express “national sentiment” it must be seen together with other factors relating to Pakistan’s capacity to withstand pressure in foreign policy and its leverage to put pressure on other states to compel them to accept its line of thinking.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has denied that there was a threat that NATO might not invite Pakistan to its summit in Chicago, scheduled for May 21-22, and said the invitation would come in good time as the supply route negotiations moved ahead, the editorial states.
This unfolded amid news that the U.S. might impose unilateral trade-related restrictions on Pakistan as a lever to get it to agree to the resumption of the NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.
According to a senior Pakistani official, Pakistan’s Defence Committee of the Cabinet is going to meet on May 15 after which the cabinet will meet on May 16 and announce what Pakistan has decided to do. The editorial says this kind of brinkmanship has allowed all kinds of speculations to spread, influencing official postures in the region and among the NATO states keen to make their exit from Afghanistan not look like defeat.
Pakistan has delayed its concurrence to the opening of the NATO supply route, perhaps, with the intent of not appearing to give in too soon. Its expression of outrage over what happened at Salala in November 2011 has to be demonstrated as a genuine “national sentiment”, which must be respected, it says.
It is debatable whether this strategy of expression of outrage was advisable in the first place. Pakistan’s expressions of anger over the way the endgame in Afghanistan is unfolding has kept the country out of summits where its presence was required even if this presence was used merely to state its negative position.
According to the editorial, the delay over the implementation of the parliamentary guidelines on the issue of NATO routes has been ill-advised and the position taken on the matter of official apology by the Obama Administration on the Salala incident, too, has been unrealistic, given the well-known fact that President Barack Obama is into a tough campaign for the next U.S. presidential election and cannot be seen by his voters as being humiliated by Pakistan.