If Pakistan starts calculating the actual damages that it has incurred once Islamabad becomes partners with the US in its war on terror, Trump’s 33 billion dollars will be dwarfed. Virtually every sector of infrastructure under NATO and American usage has been affected severely. One such facility that NATO and American forces rely on for their supplies is Pakistan’s national highway networks.

The news report published in the daily Nation this Sunday reveals that the government spends Rs27 billion each year to maintain and repair the highways’ network in the country against the total required sum of around Rs75 billion. It is expected that the difference will increase further if the government fails to take appropriate measures.

The published report is proof of the incompetence of the Pakistani state and the concerned ministry and departments. Islamabad has kept most of its deals with American government secret. The public has no knowledge what Islamabad is charging the foreign forces and their supplies which pass through Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The reality is that Pakistan has the habit of crying over spilt milk. The government should have come up with a proper agreement in allowing foreign forces in Afghanistan regarding using the transportation facilities of Pakistan.

While the government is thinking over the options it has; either blocking the NATO supply line or imposing a special toll tax, it is essential to learn from our past mistakes. The government needs to decide what will be the appropriate step for generating enough money to repair the road infrastructure that has damaged severely because of the overloaded NATO supply vehicles. The most appropriate move will be to claim the damages from NATO and ISAF forces.

That being said, what the government needs to do is not to repeat such a mistake in future. The next big project for Pakistan is CPEC. This project hailed as the game changer should prove so for good. The long-term plan of the project does not specify which side will bear the costs for maintenance of the roads that Chinese trucks will be using.

Pakistan’s policy of not imposing a levy on NATO supplies has brought nothing good for the country except for accusations of infidelity. It is about time to take a stand and demand what is Pakistan’s right to repair its highways that are worn out because of NATO supplies. Pakistan needs to deliberate over the matter not only regarding NATO supplies but also to consider the impact of Chinese transportation through its highways. Failing to do so will be a significant loss to national exchequer.