Pak declines top US official’s Islamabad visit

Pak declines top US official’s Islamabad visit

Islamabad: The Pakistan visit of a top US diplomat overseeing South Asian affairs has been postponed, the Pak Foreign Office said, amid indications that Islamabad was still evolving a response to Trump administration’s new Afghan strategy.
Alice Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs and acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was scheduled to visit Islamabad next week, but her visit has been put off by the Pakistan government “until a mutually convenient time”.
The Foreign Office did not give any reason for postponing the visit.
But government sources said Islamabad was still evolving a response to the US accusations that Pakistan was providing safe havens to militants and prolonging the US’ 16-year Afghan war.
It would be “premature” to interact with the senior US state department official at this time, they added.
In Washington, the state department confirmed Well’s trip has been postponed at Pakistan government’s “request”, but it too did not provide any reason for delaying the visit.
Wells’s visit would have been the first by any US official to Pakistan after President Donald Trump unveiled the new policy for Afghanistan and the larger South Asian region.
It was scheduled as part of her three-nation South Asia tour. She would continue with her trip to Dhaka and Colombo beginning tomorrow, according to the state department.
The Pakistan government has tasked Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to garner support from friendly countries. He is expected to visit China, Russia and Turkey next week in the first phase of the country’s regional diplomatic outreach. PTI

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