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Pakistan decides in principle to reopen NATO supply routes: daily

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 15, IRNA -- A leading news daily claimed on Thursday that Pakistan has decided in principle to reopen the NATO supply routes.

Daily 'Express Tribune' reported that in a meeting among the country's top civil and military leadership, the proposal to lift the ban conditionally was discussed and consensus was reached.

It said the meeting was attended by President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Director General ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, the Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman, the foreign secretary and heads of the coalition partners, including Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali and MQM deputy convener Farooq Sattar.

The report added the draft proposals would still need to be cleared by a joint session of the Parliament before the four-month ban can be effectively lifted.

The US has on a number of occasions expressed its discomfort over the delay in the process, as NATO supplies through other means are much costlier than the land routes of Pakistan.

Pakistan had shut land access for US supplies after NATO forces pounded two border checkposts in November 2011.

Last week, Opposition Leader in the Parliament, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had warned that the National Assembly will not be allowed to be a rubber stamp on the issue.

Earlier, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said that the military will follow whatever policy the Parliament takes regarding ties with the United States.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security had been tasked with giving recommendations to review Islamabad's ties with Washington in the wake of the Nato airstrikes that claimed the lives of 26 Pakistani soldiers.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80042281

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