Monday, July 25, 2011

Despite US Pressure, Pakistan Backs Libyan Government

Foreign policy: Despite US pressure, Islamabad backs Qaddafi

By Qaiser Butt
Published: July 25, 2011

Libyan leader’s envoy seeks to enlist Pakistan’s support

While the US pressurises Pakistan to recognise the Libyan rebels-led Transitional International Council (TIC), the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is seeking Islamabad’s assistance to overcome the challenges his authority faces in Tripoli.

A senior official of the Libyan ministry of foreign affairs is due to arrive in Islamabad on July 27 with a special message from Qaddafi for President Asif Ali Zardari, a highly informed source told The Express Tribune. The special envoy will also meet Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Islamabad backs Qaddafi

Tripoli has appreciated Islamabad’s position that the US-led armed intervention in Libya is beyond the UN mandate.

Islamabad has told Washington that it would only recognise a government in Libya that controls Tripoli.

Pakistan has so far refused to accord recognition to ‘a state-less Transitional International Council’ as the legitimate authority in Libya and maintains that it still considered Qaddafi’s government as the lawful regime in Tripoli.

Islamabad, however, has not yet nominated a new ambassador to Tripoli after it sent the last one, Jamil Ahmed Khan, to the UAE.

“We will appoint our new ambassador to Tripoli once the ongoing political turmoil is over in Libya,” a foreign office source said.

Most Muslim countries except Turkey, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have so far refused to recognize the TIC as the legal authority of Libya.

Opposing foreign intervention

At a conference in Istanbul on July 15, Western nations threw their weight behind Libya’s rebels, recognising them as the government authority.

Pakistan refused to attend the conference despite having the secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) representing Muslim countries at the meeting.

“The secretary-general should not have attended the Istanbul conference,” said an official in the ministry of foreign affairs.

Pakistan has already expressed its serious reservations over the interpretation of the UN resolution over Libya which appears to have granted permission to US and its allies to carry out attacks on a sovereign country.

“No country should be divided, fractured or brought under attack merely in the name of restoration of democracy or protection of human rights,” a senior official of Pakistan’s foreign office said.

“Pakistan also rejects the formula of regime change with the intervention of foreign forces,” he said, adding that “Libya has its internal problems so it is up to its people to decide their fate.”

Pakistan joins Russia, China, Sweden and Holland in opposing aerial bombardment of Libya.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2011.

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