US president likely to tour Pakistan next year

November 09, 2012 - 4:56:56 am

ISLAMABAD: US President Barrack Obama is likely to visit Pakistan in mid-2013, as he could not undertake the much-awaited visit during his first term tough he did visit India and China and touched Afghanistan twice.

But Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will visit the United States much earlier than that - in the last week of December. A meeting between Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and President Obama is a strong possibility.

Pakistan is assuming the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNCS) on the fist day of next year and the prime minister would be present in the UN headquarters in New York on this occasion.

Foreign Secretary Syed Jalil Abbas Jailani has confirmed the possibility of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s presence in New York during the historic moments when Pakistan will assume the chair in the exclusive chamber of the UNSC.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has submitted details pertaining to the re-election of President Obama and new composition of the two houses of US Congress since Islamabad would need active support of the Capital Hill I in its policies with regard to its ties with the United States.

She was here in Pakistan on holidays and was unwell but in view of the presidential polls she had to rush to Washington last week. In another development Pakistan and US have decided to start Defence Consultative Group’s (DCG) talks in Islamabad on December 3 while defence secretary Lt Gen (r) Asif Yaseen Malik left for Washington early this week.

He is still in Washington. It is believed that he has gone in the capacity of PIA chairman. Two defence secretaries will lead the delegations of their respective countries in the next month’s talks.

Finance minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh is also going to Washington next week for a meeting on finance and economic cooperation. He could also have interaction with the high-ups of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) during his stay in the US capital.

Highly placed diplomatic sources said yesterday that Pakistan has formally welcomed the success of President Obama in the US polls. The President and prime minister have already dispatched their felicitation messages and the Foreign Office will also give its reaction.

Pakistan and the United States continued their talks on various tracks despite the presidential election campaign in recent months and it manifests the new depth in their relationship, the sources reminded.

Sources pointed out that President Obama asked his special envoy for the region Marc Grossman to remain active on his front and he visited Islamabad last month with a special delegation that included senior officials of Defence Department (DoD) and State Department.

The members of the delegation held extensive discussions with their counterparts here. The sources reminded that the impression of Obama leaving Pakistan high and dry in his first term is simply incorrect as US Vice President Joe Biden exclusively visited Pakistan during these years while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan twice in less than two years.

President Obama made two unannounced visits to Afghanistan but he didn’t Pakistan.