ISLAMABAD, Nov 3: US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld will arrive here on Sunday on a brief visit to discuss the Afghan situation with President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

At the press briefing, spokesmen for the foreign office and the president gave no details about the issues likely to be discussed with Mr Rumsfeld and the duration of his visit. However, an FO official said the stay would not be more than few hours.

“Afghan situation would be main topic of discussion,” FO spokesman Aziz Khan said.

In reply to a question whether the US authorities had been sharing information about the progress of their operation, Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi said that coalition forces did not share tactical and operational details of their action.

He then made a contradictory statement, saying there had been continuous exchanges of views between Pakistan and the US authorities, and that the matter might be discussed during those exchanges.

Mr Qureshi said the powder found in the mail of a national daily had been sent to the National Institute of Health for verification amidst doubts it might be a hoax. The two employees that had been exposed to the powder, he said, did not show symptom of any disease. Earlier, some tests were carried out at Aga Khan Laboratories Karachi.

He refuted allegations by some politicians that the government had handed over security of nuclear installations to the United States.

Asked how many bases in Pakistan were being used by the United States and coalition forces, Mr Qureshi retorted that no base in Pakistan was being used for launching offensive operations but did not give the number of bases being used by coalition forces.

In reply to a question whether cable operators had been asked not to relay the transmission of Al Jazeera television, he said there were no such restrictions.

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