By Arif Qoreshi
Islamabad: Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will travel to Washington on 24th July according to a daily Urdu “Nawa-i-Waqt” to discuss and identify areas of cooperation in the intelligence field.
This will be Islam’s first trip to the US since he took charge of the ISI in March. He was scheduled to travel to the US in May but had to delay his due to the lingering stalemate between the two countries.
The visit of DG ISI was postpone then follows renewed tensions between the two countries over Pakistan’s blockade on NATO supplies into Afghanistan and sentencing of a Pakistani doctor, Dr Shakil Afridi, hired by the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden.
Then In a short statement sent to reporters by the spokesman of ISPR said that the visit by the ISI director general, Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam, to the United States “has been postponed due to his pressing commitments here”.
“There is no other reason of postponing the visit,” the spokesman added.
Pakistan and the US are likely to conclude an agreement that will spell out areas of cooperation and their “respective limitations” in order to remove ambiguities in their fragile relationship. Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will also discuss and identify areas of cooperation in the intelligence field.
The understanding on the agreement was reached as part of a “package deal” that paved the way for Pakistan to reopen supply routes for US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan,
Talks on the proposed agreement will begin soon with an exchange of high-level visits, an official said.
“Now that the standoff is over, the DG ISI will soon visit the US,” said a security official talking with the “express tribune” daily.
Another Pakistani official familiar with the development told the daily that the US was initially reluctant to negotiate such an accord since existing “vague” arrangements served its purpose.
However, Pakistan managed to convince the US on the the official said. Pakistan shut the supply lines after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November. The routes were reopened after the US said “sorry”for the attack.
Pakistan ambassador to United States Sherry Rehman who is now a days in Islamabad will return to Washington on 10th of July to finalize the meetings. During his visit ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will meet with his counterpart CIA Director: General David Howell Petraeus, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It is said both countries have made their arrangements for the meetings. There are some certain issues which will be discussed during the visit.
According to security officials Pakistan has listed the issue drone attacks on the top of the list.
Pakistan will also discuss the growing role of India in Afghanistan and put the evidence of Indian involvement in its Baluchistan province.
According to security experts America will press Pakistan to go after the haqani network.
And after the key arrest of and Indian national abu jandal who is according to Indian claims confessed his role in Mumbai attacks will come under discussion. The united states will press Pakistan to take a stern action against chief of lashkar taiba hafiz saeed.
The writer is an editor of “thefortress.com.pk”