Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been reluctant to put any serious pressure behind his demands for the US to end drone strikes, but last week’s assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud is bringing the issue to a head.
The pressure is now on for Sharif to agree to shut down NATO’s supply lines through Pakistan into occupied Afghanistan, with an ultimatum from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah’s (KP) provincial government putting a short timetable on it.
The KP government’s ruling Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) party has given the US until November 20 to end the attacks, and has threatened their own blockade, effectively rendering the Khyber Pass unusable.
Though there is a secondary route through Balochistan, closing the major route on a provincial level would be a major embarrassment to the Sharif government, and they may ultimately decide that a nationwide closure would be more palatable.
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