The government of Pakistan is facing domestic political pressure to keep NATO's supply routes to Afghanistan closed, while the US resists apologizing or paying a high per truck fee.
"We are close to a solution, but still have some way to go," says Fawad Chaudhury, the spokesperson for Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The closed route has been a bone of contention between the US and Pakistan ever since NATO forces attacked two military checkpoints in Salala, along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers and injuring an additional 13. In response to the attack, the Pakistanis shut down the supply routes running through their territory, forcing NATO to use air transport and ground routes through Central Asia instead.
In the run-up to today's Chicago summit, the Pakistani government has faced countervailing pressures, with NATO and Washington pushing Pakistan to reopen the supply lines, and domestic opposition parties pushing to keep them closed. A gradual democratization of Pakistan's foreign policy – once the preserve of the military – has added many voices across the political spectrum into the debate over the NATO supply routes.
On April 12 the Pakistani parliament passed a 14-point resolution in response to the Salala checkpoint attacks. The resolution condemns the attacks, and includes demands for an unconditional apology from the US, an immediate cessation of drone attacks, and a stop to all transport of arms and ammunition through Pakistan.
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