WASHINGTON: Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in the United States for an almost weeklong visit, which includes meetings with senior officials of the Biden administration, officials said on Friday.

“Yes, he is here,” said Pak­is­tan’s Ambassador Sardar Masood Khan, when journalists asked him for information about the army chief’s visit.

While the envoy refra­ined from sharing the chief’s itinerary, other sources said Gen Bajwa was expected to meet Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Intelligence Direc­tor Avril D. Haines, and CIA Director William J. Burns.

Pakistani officials are also trying to secure a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “It is very likely, but not confirmed yet,” a source said.

Gen Bajwa landed at LaGuardia in New York on Friday, flying from London on his official plane along with his senior aides. He was expected to arrive in Washington over the weekend and Monday and Tues­day have been set aside for official meetings. On Wedn­e­s­day, he will meet members of various think-tanks and other scholars interested in Pakistan affairs.

While the army chief has kept in close contact with US officials over the past few years, his last official visit to the US came in 2019, when he accompanied then-prime minister Imran Khan on a three-day trip to Wash­ing­ton.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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