Vastavam web: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will arrive in Pakistan today on his maiden visit to the country to normalise bilateral ties strained after President Donald Trump accused it of providing safe havens to terrorist groups.Tillerson’s crucial visit to Islamabad comes days after he made a major policy speech on America’s growing strategic relations with India and US President Trump’s move to offer a bigger say for India in war-torn Afghanistan.Islamabad needed to “take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organisations that find safe haven inside” the country, Tillerson told reporters travelling with him at the Bagaram Air Force base in Afghanistan.
“We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan,” Tillerson said.Tillerson’s visit to Islamabad marks the first by a senior member of the Trump administration.The Radio Pakistan reported that Pak-US relations, stability in Afghanistan and regional security issues will be discussed during the meetings.
Foreign Office sources said that the discussion would focus on improving security and economic relations but “cooperation against militants would be prominent during talks.” Pakistan regularly denies that it hosts terror groups fighting the US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
Trump’s criticism led to further strain in US-Pakistan relations with a peeved Islamabad saying the US president ignored its efforts in the war against terrorism.
But bilateral relations improved slightly after a meeting between Prime Minister Abbasi and Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.The US also met a major demand of Pakistan for action against militants operating against it from Afghanistan when a drone killed chief of Jamaatul Ahrar Umar Khalid Khurasani last week.The top militant was involved in several terrorist attacks in Pakistan including Peshawar school attack in 2014 that killed 150 people, mostly students.