Islamabad: Is Pakistan treading the path towards global isolation, asked a Pakistani daily that said the steps taken by Islamabad following the November 26 NATO airstrikes could 'end up hurting' the country.

Pakistan had reacted in anger to the November 26 NATO airstrikes that left two dozen soldiers dead in Mohmand Agency. It cut off NATO supply and directed the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase, near Quetta in Baluchistan province, that was used to launch drone attacks.

An editorial in the Daily Times on Tuesday said that it was incredible how successive governments in Pakistan have been so generous in the distribution of land to foreign governments for their exclusive use.

“First, the Shamsi airbase was given to the UAE... In 2001, it was then handed over to the US as a launch pad for drone strikes across the border in Afghanistan, and on the tribal areas in Pakistan,” the daily noted.

“Similarly, PAF Shahbaz Base - which was also given to the US - has been off-limits to the citizens of Pakistan even though the ministry of defence still denies the presence of any foreign soldiers there and claims that the base is under the control of the PAF,” it said.

The editorial said that following the November 26 attack, “our government decided to finally put its foot down, saying that Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity need to be safeguarded at all costs and the way to do that was by renegotiating its relationship with the US.”

It went on to say that the new terms of engagement with NATO - 'in the 'interests of the country's sovereignty' - would leave Pakistan conveniently able to protect the safe havens it has given to the Afghan Taliban from being attacked and thus allowing it to pursue its proxy war in Afghanistan without any fear of interference'.'...the government is clearly determined to back the ambitions of the military establishment. But the repercussions of this would be grave not only for Afghanistan and the region, but devastating for Pakistan as well.

''With a new foreign policy vis-a-vis the US in the process of formulation, have the long-term implications arising from such a policy been understood? With this policy, is Pakistan treading the path towards global isolation?” questioned the editorial.

It suggested that if that is indeed the chosen path, 'the government ought to think again'.

In a highly interconnected and interdependent world and for a country highly dependent on foreign aid, this policy is stoking the fire and may end up hurting the whole of Pakistan, rather than just its sovereignty.

(Agencies)