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US freeze of $700m causes another dent in Pakistan's uneasy ties

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Dec 15, IRNA -- The United States decision to halt $700 million in aid to Pakistan is another serious blow to the already strained relations between the two allies in the so-called war on terror.

The US lawmakers came up with a strange notion for aid cut on the pretext that Pakistan has failed to stop smuggling of homemade bombs into Afghanistan.

The US and its NATO allies have failed to check smuggling and they have blamed Pakistan just to justify freeze of civilian aid. Pakistan's top military and civilian leadership is now seen to be on same page to review relationship with the US after the last month's NATO strike on two Pakistani border posts which killed 24 soldiers.

The strike on November 26 changed Pakistan mode to close supply line for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and the country's decision to vacate strategically important Shamsi airbase in Balochistan. The US used the airbase for nearly 10 years for its military operations in Afghanistan and also to carry out spy drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions.

The Federal Cabinet and the Parliamentary Committee on National Security endorsed the decisions and Envoys Conference was called to make recommendations for the future relationship with the US/NATO and ISAF. The recommendations will now be sent to the parliament for final approval, that will be a turning point in Pakistan-US relationship.

The on-going Pakistan-US tension has also resolved the mystery about the Shamsi Airbase in southwestern Balochistan province as Pakistani leaders had been giving conflicting reports as to who had controlled the airstrip. Pakistan’s Air Chief Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman disclosed in the parliament in May this year that the airfield is in the control of the United Arab Emirate.

Pakistani public has thrown its support behind the leadership in its changed mode towards the US and its Western allies and many analysts has suggested to the government to reject US aid and adopt policy of self-reliance. In every public opinion surveys either conducted in the US or Pakistan, majority does not like the US and its policy towards Pakistan and the Muslims.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30714462

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