Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Abdul Hafeez Sheikh tweeted, “There is no U.S. military or air base in Pakistan; nor is any such proposal envisaged. Any speculation on this account is baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided.”
Hafeez clarified, “Pakistan and the U.S. have a framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) in place since 2001. No new agreement has been made in this regard.”
Pakistani journalist Talat Hussain tweeted, “Pakistan has prepared (yet again) a “substantial” package involving many sectors including defence, economy and social sector to maximise “advantages” and “incentives” Washington is willing to consider in return for “cooperation” post-US troop withdrawal, say defence sources.”
The controversy arose after a report published in DAWN by Anwar Iqbal that Pakistan has allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access so that it can support its presence in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon official.
David F. Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the United States would continue its conversation with Pakistan because it had a critical role in restoring peace to Afghanistan.
The official was replying to a question from Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who asked him to “outline your assessment of Pakistan, and particularly of Pakistani intelligence agencies, and the role you expect them to play in our future”.
“Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” Mr Helvey said.