Islamabad, Nov 30: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday requested Pakistan to reconsider its decision to boycott the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, saying the country's absence at the meet “would not be helpful to efforts” to restore peace in the region.
Karzai made the request when he made a telephone call to Gilani this afternoon to convey his condolences on the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border NATO air strike from Afghanistan on Saturday.
A special meeting of the cabinet chaired by Gilani decided to boycott the Bonn Conference, which will discuss the future of Afghanistan, to protest the NATO attack.
Responding to Karzai's request, Gilani asked how Pakistan “could play a constructive role” when its “sovereignty and territorial integrity (were being) violated from Afghan soil”, said a statement from the Prime Minister's House.
Karzai referred to reports about Pakistan's decision not to participate in the Conference and requested Gilani to reconsider the move as the meeting was being held for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan's absence from the meet to be held on December 5 “would not be helpful to efforts aimed at bringing about peace in Afghanistan”.
Gilani noted that Pakistan had been providing “complete cooperation” for peace and stability in Afghanistan but expressed “his deepest regret on the use of Afghan soil for attacking Pakistan's sovereignty”.
He said the death of the Pakistani soldiers had “enraged” the people.
Angered by the air strike, the Pakistan government shut down all NATO supply routes and asked the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones, within 15 days.
Gilani told Karzai that “several cross-border attacks were launched into Pakistani territory in the past and scores of Pakistan's security personnel lost their lives”. He said these attacks were a “clear violation of international law and the NATO/ISAF mandate”.
“The recurrence of such incidents would definitely narrow down the political space for the government, where the country's own sovereignty was at stake,” Gilani said.