Pakistan backs quick deal on Nato supplies
[Dawn] Pakistain said Wednesday it had ordered officials to finalise an agreement as quickly as possible on lifting a six-month blockade on overland NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants...
supplies into war-torn Afghanistan.
Islamabad has stopped short of announcing when the transit lines will reopen, but has signalled President Asif Ali
President Ten Percent Zardari
... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ...
will attend key talks on Afghanistan in Chicago on May 20-21, after a last-minute invitation from NATO.
The country shut its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies on November 26 after US air strikes killed 24 Pak soldiers.
As a result, Pak-US relations -- already frayed by the US raid that killed the late Osama bin Laden
... who sleeps with the fishes...
-- plunged into their worst crisis since Islamabad joined the United States in the war on al Qaeda after 9/11.
Now Pak and US officials are locked in talks to finalise a deal on again allowing thousands of trucks and oil tankers to carry non-lethal supplies from the southern port city of Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
to landlocked Afghanistan.
Asked if there was any deadline for the talks, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said: "There is no deadline. All departments have been asked to conclude their negotiations in the quickest possible time." The cabinet on Wednesday welcomed NATO's invitation to Zardari, clearing the way for him to travel to the May 20-21 summit, and it is thought unlikely he would be willing to risk the wrath of Western leaders if the supply lines have not been restored.
By going to Chicago, Pakistain hopes to ease its international isolation and boost its leverage over the future of Afghanistan, as Western countries pull out their combat forces by 2014.
Posted by: Fred