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PAKISTANI SOVEREIGNTY December 12, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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The Pakistani Foreign Minister told the US Secretary of State the attacks that lead to the death of 24 soldiers on 26 November was “totally unacceptable” and “an attack on Pakistani Sovereignty”

While threatening to shoot down any drones that cross the nation’s borders, the Pakistanis have insisted that the Americans leave the Shamsi Airbase in Balochostan from which drones had been launched to Afghanistan and the Federally Administrated Trust Territories. Dawn reported:

“A cargo plane of the US Air Force arrived at the airbase today[11 December] to take the US troops to their next destination,” a senior government official told Dawn on Saturday night.

A private plane carrying Pakistani officials also landed at the airbase on Saturday. They visited the facility to witness the evacuation process.

The sources said that about 20 US cargo planes had landed at the airbase over the past week to shift sensitive equipment, vehicles and belongings of the US troops who had been using the base for the last 10 years.

MSNBC reports reported the honeymoon was over. They were referring to the threat to shoot down drones that violated Pakistani airspace and not the extended stay at Shamsi where US drones were located. The relationship, for the moment, has been rent apart between the two countries.

And then there is the embargo of supplies to the forces in Afghanistan. Who knows what effect that is having in Afghanistan. Presumably alternative routes are been employed, perhaps increasing the costs of the operations against the Taliban. Over 600 trucks loaded with supplies have been stranded. One other consequence is that Pakistan’s major ports are being clogged with containers. Dawn notes:

Port users told Dawn that if the large number of Nato containers were not removed from the two ports soon, there will hardly be any space left for movement of commercial cargo, badly affecting the country’s imports and exports.

Terminal operators wondered who would pay the demurrage, plugging and other charges in case of any change in the government’s blockade decision. According to official documents, three container carriers belonging to American President
Line (APL), an official carrier of US military hardware and equipment, called at country’s ports during the past 15 days.

Another container carrier was expected to call any time and may be given berth at the Karachi port.

Shipping sources said a large number of reefer containers (meant to keep perishable goods fresh) are also clogging the terminals and clocking phenomenal plugging charges.

“Since ports are transit points, and not meant for storage, the government should immediately arrange the removal of these containers from ports so that the movement of commercial cargo does not suffer,” a terminal operator told Dawn.

So the analogy may be stronger than supposed. The break up of the relationship is not just about the emotion; it is intensified by money. At some point ships will have to stop off loading military equipment. Do the Pakistanis get to keep what has already been unloaded, or do the Americans send ships to transport it away, after paying the associated costs?

Somebody has overplayed their hand.

UPDATE:

Transit of supplies for Afghanistan currently represents about a third of the total. One third is flown directly and the remainder is brought in from the north via Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – the so-called “northern distribution network”. Of course, Pakistan is deeply implicated in the prosecution of the war, particularly in regard to the drone strikes in the Federal Territories. The costs and uncertainty of logistics have increased perhaps exponentially.

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