No secret agreement for reopening routes: Khar

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar today said Pakistan had not concluded any "secret agreement" with the US to end a seven-month blockade of supply routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan and contended that a superpower had to "backdown".

Khar`s comments came shortly after the cabinet formally approved a decision by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) last night to reopen supply lines that were closed in November last year after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The meeting of the DCC, which was chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and attended by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, decided to reopen the supply lines after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologised for the NATO attack.

Khar said the government had not deviated from a resolution adopted by a joint sitting of Parliament on resetting ties with the US by reopening the supply routes. She told the media that the US had formally tendered an apology to Pakistan and there was no "secret agreement" or deal between the two sides. Pakistan had blocked supplies bound for foreign forces in Afghanistan for almost eight months only to have its principled stance accepted, Khar said.

A message had been given to the US that it should not cross Pakistan`s "red lines", she said. Though the NATO supply routes were reopened, a superpower had to "back down", she contended. Pakistan will continue talks with the US on ending drone attacks, Khar said. She further said future relations between Pakistan and the US will be in line with guidelines adopted by parliament.

In April, a joint session of the two houses of parliament had approved guidelines for Pakistan?s future ties with the US. These guidelines had demanded an immediate end to US drone strikes and said that Pakistani territory should not be used for transporting arms and ammunition to foreign forces in Afghanistan.