Pakistan's top civilian and military leadership Saturday night decided to ask the United States to vacate a key air base in the country's southwest Balochistan province in 15 days after the NATO fighter jets and helicopters killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others in the tribal region of Mohmand Agency which borders Afghanistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (1st, L) chairs an emergency meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on November 26, 2011. Pakistan's top civilian and military leadership Saturday night decided to ask the United States to vacate a key air base in the country's southwest Balochistan province in 15 days after the NATO fighter jets and helicopters killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others in the tribal region of Mohmand Agency which borders Afghanistan. [Ahmad Kamal/Xinhua]
The meeting was called to review the situation arising out of the NATO strikes in Mohmand Agency late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
The DCC meeting was attended by Federal Ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs and members of the DCC.
The meeting decided to ask the United States to vacate Shamsi Air Base in southwestern Balochistan province within 15 days in an apparent protest against NATO strikes.
The DCC decided that the government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programs, activities and cooperative arrangements with the United States, the NATO and the ISAF, including the fields of diplomacy, politics, military and intelligence, a statement from the Prime Minister office said.
The Prime Minister will take the Parliament into confidence on the whole range of measures regarding matters relating to Pakistan 's future cooperation with the United States, the NATO and the ISAF in the near future, it said.
"The DCC strongly condemned the attack by the NATO's and the ISAF's aircrafts on Pakistani border posts in the Mohmand Agency which has resulted in the loss of precious lives of officers and men of Pakistan Army and injuries to several," said the statement.
The DCC noted that strong protests had been lodged with the United States and at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels conveying in the strongest possible terms Pakistan's condemnation of these attacks which constituted breach of sovereignty, were violative of international law and had gravely dented the fundamental basis of Pakistan's cooperation with the NATO and the ISAF against militancy and terror.
The DCC noted that the NATO's and the ISAF's attacks were also violative of their mandate which was confined to Afghanistan. Pakistan had clearly conveyed to the United States, the NATO and the ISAF its red lines which constituted an integral element of Pakistan's cooperation that was based on a partnership approach.
The attack on Pakistan Army border posts is totally unacceptable and warrants an effective national response, the DCC added.
The DCC reiterated the resolve of the Pakistani people and Armed Forces to safeguard Pakistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity at all costs, the statement said.
The DCC expressed heartfelt sympathies and condolences to families of the brave soldiers who fought valiantly and also prayed for the early recovery of those injured.