The Pakistani Foreign Office has said in a statement that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle consulted his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar before the final declaration of the International Conference on Afghanistan was issued. According to the statement, the German foreign minister hoped that Islamabad will continue to play a role in bringing peace to Afghanistan.
In the talk, which took place on the telephone, Hina Rabbani Khar thanked Westerwelle, saying that Pakistan will closely review the final declaration of the conference on Afghanistan, which took place in Bonn on December 5. She also said she appreciated Germany for its efforts to establish peace in its neighboring country.
Pakistan’s main opposition Pakistan Muslim League N has voiced support for the government in its decision to boycott the summit after a NATO attack killed 24 Pakistani troops on November 26.
"The Bonn conference has failed to achieve its goals because neither Pakistan nor the Taliban took part in it. The role of both these parties is extremely important in the establishment of peace in Afghanistan," said opposition party leader Khurram Dastgir.
In Bonn, the participating countries vowed to continue giving aid to Afghanistan beyond 2014. Yet economist Dr. Farrukh Saleem says some 90 to 95 percent of aid provided by the US and NATO so far has only been for military purposes, adding that "real," economic development aid was minimal.
"Europe and the USA are themselves facing the financial crisis and it will not be easy for them to continue assisting Afghanistan as they have been doing in the past 10 years," says Saleem.
Some analysts are of the opinion that Pakistan, by not participating in the Bonn conference, has effectively registered its protest. Defense analyst and retired Air Vice-Marshal Shahzad Chaudhary believes Islamabad should now consider resuming its ties with these countries:
"Whenever you take a step, its impact is always for a limited period of time and it starts gradually declining. In my opinion, Pakistan will now have to determine if the steps taken by the leadership are in the right direction or how long they will last."
Chaudhary compares the situation to when the Indian government put a hold on its ties with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks in the year 2008; after one and a half years of silence, India had to resume talks with its neighbor.
Military cooperation in danger
But while experts believe Pakistan has made its case and it is now time to settle relations with the US, the Associated Press news agency, quoting US military officials, has reported that Pakistan has withdrawn its troops from the two coordinating centers situated at Pak-Afghan border.
These centers were being used to communicate with US and NATO forces. With this step, analysts say, Islamabad is continuing its protest against the recent NATO airstrike.
Meanwhile, former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tanvir Ahmad Khan has said that a lot of factors must be taken into account when dealing with a super power. "It has never been easy in the past and nor it is today. If you shoot down their helicopter or airplane, the retaliation will be on a much wider scale. Coping with such a situation will not be easy for Pakistan. Pakistan can only do as much as it has already done."
Author: Shakoor Rahim / aa
Editor: Sarah Berning