Islamabad: Pakistan has refused to budge from its position seeking a US apology for a NATO air strike that killed 24 of its soldiers last year, saying this is necessary for ending a six-month blockade of vital supply routes for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

"The apology is something which should have been forthcoming the day this incident happened, and what a partnership not only demands, but requires," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said.

She contended that higher principles should take precedence over politically-popular considerations.

Khar asked the US to live up to its democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan's Parliament, which has passed a resolution asking the US to apologise for the cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

Pakistan responded to the attack by closing NATO supply routes and forcing US personnel to vacate an airbase that was considered a hub for CIA-operated drones.

Despite protracted negotiations over the past few months, Pakistan and the US have been unable to reach an understanding on reopening the supply lines.

Bickering over fees to be paid by NATO containers and tankers passing through Pakistani territory and Islamabad's insistence on an apology for the NATO attack have held up a deal between the two sides.

"For us in Pakistan...the most popular thing to do right now is to not move on NATO supply routes at all. It is to close them forever," Khar told 'Foreign Policy' magazine.

"If I were a political advisor to the Prime Minister, this is what I would advise him to do. But I'm not advising him to do that...because what is at stake is much more important for Pakistan than just winning an election," she said, referring to the general election expected to be held early next year.



Latest news from World News Desk