ISLAMABAD: Former Secretary Defence Lt Gen (retired) Naeem Khalid Lodhi said that Pakistan had signed two separate agreements with the United States and NATO back in 2001, which are known as framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) and both are fully operational, active and in place since 2001. These agreements were signed to facilitate US/NATO forces for their strategic operations in Afghanistan by the government of Pakistan.
In an exclusive interview with The Nation, the former secretary defense, who also served as Corps Commander Bahawalpur and caretaker Defence minister, further said that when he was secretary of defense in 2011 in PPP government he had asked officials of the defense Ministry to show him the original documents of the agreement which was later produced before him.
“There were two separate agreements one was with NATO, another one was with the US government, and both are in written form,” reveals Lt Gen Lodhi. “I took up the agreement and went to the parliamentary committee on National Security headed by the then Chairman Raza Rabbani and took them into confidence about the whole matter,” Gen Lodhi remarked.
“After a briefing to the committee on the agreements, the committee asked me for its complete review, which was done, and draft amendments were made by me and presented it to the committee chairman.
In case Pakistan unilaterally terminates agreement, it will have to pay a heavy price
Former secretary defense said due to policy differences with the then PPP government, he had to resign; therefore he does not know what happened with the draft later. Lt Gen Lodhi disclosed there was a provision within both agreements of a periodic review, which was never carried out.
Lt General Lodhi said there is no expiry date of this agreement, but it could be terminated by the government in power. General Lodhi said in case Pakistan unilaterally terminates this agreement, it will have to pay a heavy price; within no time reaction of international institutions like IMF, FATF would be hostile against Pakistan, and there could be pressure from middle eastern countries on Pakistan.
Answering a question, the former defense secretary said Pakistan should have negotiated this agreement with the US on better terms and conditions, but Pakistan did not negotiate this agreement well.
“Pakistani roads were destroyed due to transportation of heavy goods by NATO and US containers and what was paid back was in pennies”, Gen Lodhi remarked. “One of my amendments in the agreement was the use of railway track for such logistics, but amendments could not be made part of the agreement as I left the defense ministry”, he remarked.
Replying to a question, Lt General Lodhi said Shamsi airbase was not given to US forces by Pakistan; it was given to them by the UAE government to whom Pakistan has given this base for hunting purposes only.