US Defence Secretary James Mattis will arrive in Pakistan tomorrow to hold talks with the civilian and military leadership on bilateral and regional issues.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis will arrive in Pakistan tomorrow to hold talks with the civilian and military leadership on bilateral and regional issues, officials here said today. Mattis, ahead of his first visit to Pakistan as America’s Defence Secretary, yesterday said that the US wants Pakistan to act in “its best interest” and take action against terror safe havens. Relations between the US and Pakistan plummeted after President Donald Trump announced his new south Asia policy in August and directly blamed Islamabad for supporting the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan. Officials here said today that Mattis is visiting Pakistan in a bid to rebuild the frayed ties and seek cooperation against the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Signs of recovery have been witnessed in US-Pakistan ties after the successful raid by Pakistani security forces to release a kidnapped Canadian man and his American wife.
Trump and top US officials praised the effort and hoped for more cooperation. Mattis will meet the civilian and military leaders and discuss various bilateral and regional issues, said diplomatic sources privy to the developments. According to sources, “All issues of bilateral and regional interests would be discussed in the meetings”. Local media reports, however, suggest that Mattis faces a difficult task as Pakistan is not happy over the repeated US allegations about safe havens for the Taliban. The Express Tribune reported that the civilian-military leadership will adopt a “clear cut decisive” stance during the visit of Mattis that “only cooperation will get cooperation”. Quoting sources, it reported that if the US adopts parity, Pakistan will also cooperate in a balanced way, but if it continues its policy of demanding to “do-more”, then Islamabad will reply “no-do-more and no cooperation”. The report further said that no pressure and demand to do more without any proof or information will be accepted. Pakistan will clarify that there are no militant safe havens or terrorist network on its soil as security institutions have purged the land of terrorists, it said.
Pakistan will not conduct any joint operation with any other country on its soil but will take action against militants including the Haqqanis on the basis of intelligence- based information, it said. Pakistan will also respond positively to any US requests for cooperation to establish peace in Afghanistan but would stress for reconciliation in the trouble-torn country, the report said. It would also demand that the US and Afghan governments expedite actions against terror groups that are hatching conspiracies using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan, it said. Authorities will inform Mattis about its reservations over the pro-India policy of the Trump administration and any demand in support of India will be rejected, the report added. Mattis embarked on a four-nation tour on Friday which will take him to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait. During the tour, he will re-affirm the US’ enduring commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia.