WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan deepen their engagement with talks between both civil and military officials as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat arrives in the US capital to attend an international conference on counterterrorism.

In Islamabad, Pakistan will host US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday for the fourth round of talks aimed at rebuilding ties between the two countries which, until recently, were close allies in the war against terrorism.

In December, Islamabad will host yet another visitor, Defence Secretary James Mattis to review the reconciliation process that began with a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence in New York last month.

The decision to push forward the reconciliation process was taken at that meeting and led to Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s visit to Washington two weeks ago. Mr Asif not only met his counterpart — Secretary Tillerson — but also held in-depth talks with National Security Adviser Gen H.R. McMaster.

The third round of talks was held in Islamabad when an interagency US delegation visited the Pakistani capital with details of the new US strategy for South Asia announced by President Donald Trump on Aug 21.

On a separate platform, the United States invited Gen Hayat to Washington to attend the conference on counterterrorism, creating yet another opportunity for talks, now between defence officials of the two countries.

US policymakers believe that direct talks with Pakistani defence officials are necessary to address their main concern: seeking Pakistan’s assistance in the fight against militants along the Pak-Afghan border.

This will also be the focus of defence secretary’s talks in Islamabad, when he visits the city in December.

Mr Mattis told a Congressional panel early this month that the United States was reengaging Pakistan to support its efforts to win the Afghan war. “I would like to think we will be successful,” but that the United States “has an enormously powerful number of options” if the talks fail, he said.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2017

Opinion

Educating merged districts
Updated 12 Apr 2021

Educating merged districts

The seven merged districts of KP, with a combined population of over five million, do not have a single university.
Greater visibility
12 Apr 2021

Greater visibility

It is not surprising that the custodians of patriarchy are fearful.
Rethinking executions
11 Apr 2021

Rethinking executions

One convict’s fight to escape the gallows exposes the deep flaws in our criminal justice system.

Editorial

Pakistan-India peace
Updated 12 Apr 2021

Pakistan-India peace

Experts note that everything — including Kashmir — can be resolved if there is a will in both capitals.
12 Apr 2021

Child abuse

IN its annual report, the NGO Sahil found that there has been a 4pc increase in documented cases of major crimes...
12 Apr 2021

New tax chief’s task

THE FBR got a new chairman on Friday. Asim Ahmed, a senior IRS officer who was serving as the Board’s IT member...
11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...