Vacate airbase in Balochistan, Pakistan tells US


Islamabad : Pakistan has told the US to withdraw its troops from the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan that has been used to launch drone attacks, a media report said Thursday.

Support TwoCircles

Dawn reported that the Shamsi airbase will be vacated soon, while the Ghazi airbase in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already been handed over to the Pakistan Air Force.

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said here Wednesday that the Americans had started moving equipment and materials from the Shamsi airbase.

An official said the government had decided to get the base vacated due to a significant reduction in the flow of US funds and the growing trust deficit between the two countries.

Mukhtar said that trust deficit had grown significantly after the May 2 raid by US commandos to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was hiding in Abbottabad city.

“One year ago they (Americans) thought differently; now they are not recognising the sacrifices and cooperation of the Pakistanis,” the minister was quoted as saying.

He said the trust deficit can be brought down if both Islamabad and Washington take the matter seriously.

“It cannot be done unilaterally,” he added.

He suggested a revision of the policy on the war against terror.

“Although the eastern border is currently quiet and tensions are at the border with Afghanistan, we need deterrent at the east and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) can take care of the western side,” he added.

Criticising Washington, the minister said US had not given Pakistan the required quantity of equipment and its quality was also not up to the mark.

“Even the helicopters they (Americans) have supplied have not been A-class equipment which was promised at various stages of negotiations; and not to speak of their number,” he said.