Pakistan panel demands US apology on air attack

A Pakistan parliamentary committee on Tuesday demanded an unconditional apology from the United States for a November air attack on its border post that killed 24 soldiers.

Parliament opened a debate on recommendations drawn up by the parliamentary committee on national security, which called the attack a "blatant violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The process is considered key to getting relations with the US onto a more solid footing after they plummeted to their lowest level in years, reopening Nato supply lines and resuming high-level American diplomatic visits.

The panel recommended that "Pakistan should seek an unconditional apology from the US for the unprovoked incident" and said "taxes and other charges must be levied on all goods importing in or transiting through Pakistan".

Experts estimate Pakistan could earn ê1 million a day from the arrangement.

The committee also called for cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan and reiterated the country's commitment to the elimination of terrorism and combating extremism.

The recommendations were tabled by the committee's head Raza Rabbani at a joint sitting of both houses

The parliament, which will now meet on Monday, will debate for several days and then vote on whether to accept the report.

The committee was asked to review the US alliance amid public fury over the US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26, leading Pakistan to shut Nato supply routes and evict US personnel from an air base.

The air strikes capped a disastrous year for relations already seriously compromised by the covert US raid killing Osama bin Laden on May 2 and the detention of a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistanis in January 2011.

 

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