Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in PM secretariat ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad on September 5 and discussed a range of issues including Defence Day, US-Pakistan relations, internal and external security situation .
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in PM secretariat today. Matters related to Defence Day, US-Pakistan relations, internal and external security situation were discussed. #Pakistan 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/atQUCRaZr7— PTI (@PTIofficial) September 3, 2018
Bajwa and Khan had held their first formal meeting on August 27 and discussed efforts to ensure long-lasting peace and stability in the region.
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Monday’s meeting is significant as the US Secretary of State is expected to demand support from Pakistan to bring Taliban to the negotiating table.
US-Pakistan tensions have flared before Pompeo’s trip with Islamabad dismissing as “incorrect” reports the US has cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to the country, saying Washington owed the money to Islamabad for expenses incurred on fighting terrorism.
Pompeo’s visit on September 5 will be Washington’s first high-level dialogue with Islamabad since Khan was sworn-in as Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister on August 18, 2018.
On August 30, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) and assured that his government would provide all resources to maintain the capability and capacity of the Army, a major player in Pakistan’s politics. Pakistan Army has ruled coup-prone Pakistan for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947.
On Friday, Khan told said that his government will hold talks with Pompeo’s delegation to seek a “mutually beneficial” relationship with the US, which will be based on “mutual respect”.
Meanwhile, former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said that the prime minister should not meet Pompeo during his visit, but Pakistan foreign minister should meet his US counterpart instead.
Rabbani maintained that the recent cut in ‘aid’ was part of measures to put pressure on Pakistan and mentioned Pompeo’s recent statement, in which he discouraged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from providing Pakistan with a bailout, alleging the money would be used to repay Chinese loans as a previous measure.
(With PTI inputs)