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Pak exults at US apology over bombing

world Updated: Oct 08, 2010 01:55 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Imtiaz Ahmad

Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik has “congratulated the nation” for the apology tendered by the United States and the ISAF following the bombing of Pakistani positions last week by ISAF helicopters. The apology came on Wednesday in which the US administration regretted the killing of two Pakistani soldiers in the attack.

Islamabad has also promised that the border crossings will be opened shortly so that the NATO supply line could be resumed to land-locked Afghanistan. Observers said that the fuel tankers that supply to the NATO forces are currently “sitting ducks” as they assemble in different parts of the country after loading in Karachi Port.

So far, there have been attacks on fuel tankers in Shikarpur, Nowshera and Quetta in which nearly a hundred tankers carrying fuel worth millions of rupees have been torched. The Taliban has taken responsibility for these attacks.
The government’s policy to close NATO’s supply line is being seen in Pakistan as a bold step by the government in response to the attacks on its border posts.

“We were able to extract an apology but we should be doing much more,” said Hamid Gul, a retired head of the ISI. Gul said that Pakistan “needs to stand up to the US,” otherwise he warned “we wont know when” the Americans walk all over us.”

With regards the US apology, foreign policy analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said that this move “was significant,” because Washington had “accepted its mistake and by doing so owed up to the folly of its ways.” Privately government officials have said that the move to check the NATO supply line came not from Islamabad but from Rawalpindi, a reference to the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters.

Officials say that General Kayani pressed the government to close the border as he was furious over the ISAF attack which was well within Pakistan’s territory.