Islamabad: As Pakistan buried its soldiers killed in the NATO strike on Saturday, public anger is growing over the incident and pushing Pakistan-US ties to a new low. Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani led mourners during prayers in Peshawar for those killed in the airstrike.
Islamabad says their soldiers were killed in unprovoked firing. Pakistan retaliated by closing the crucial Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies and giving the US 15 days to vacate an airbase used by American drones.
On Sunday, Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the attack was unacceptable and showed complete disregard for human life. (Read: NATO attack unacceptable, Hina Rabbani tells Clinton)
Ms Clinton expressed sympathy and promised the US would work with Pakistan as NATO conducts an investigation. She also stressed on the importance of the US-Pakistani partnership. (Read: US vows full probe into death of Pak soldiers)
NATO was also in damage control with Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issuing a statement saying the incident was tragic and unintended. He said, "I have written to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to make it clear that the deaths of Pakistani personnel are as unacceptable and deplorable as the deaths of Afghan and international personnel."
But Pakistan's anger runs deep. Speaking hours after the incident on Saturday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was firm. "We will be like a rock solid wall. I discussed the matter with Chaudhry Nisar, leader of the Opposition, and also with Imran Khan and have been talking to other Pakistani leaders. That's why our nation and country has become united for the defence of the country. We will not allow to anybody to attack our country," said Mr Gilani. (Read: Won't allow anyone to attack us, says Gilani)
Pakistan represents a vital lifeline for 130,000 foreign troops, mostly American, who are fighting in landlocked Afghanistan, and NATO is scrambling along with Washington to calm tempers.
Islamabad has decided to boycott the crucial Bonn Conference on Afghanistan next week as a mark of protest. Their absence will be a setback as foreign ministers from 90 countries meet to try and find a way forward in Afghanistan.