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Ahsan Iqbal arrives in Washington on three-day official visit

WASHINGTON: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal arrived here today on a three-day official visit.  

His trip comes days after a three-day visit by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who met his American counterpart Rex W Tillerson and National Security Adviser Lt Gen H R McMaster, as part of efforts by both Pakistan and the United States to defuse tensions in bilateral relations.

The Minister will attend annual meeting of the World Bank.

He will address a conference on Mutual Coordination in South Asia and deliver lecture on Pakistan’s strategy in war against terror at Johns Hopkins University.

Some reports state that the United States and Pakistan are sending two key visitors — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal — to each other’s capitals, as efforts to mend their troubled relations continue.

Weeks after Trump angrily accused Islamabad of providing safe haven to “agents of chaos,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to depart for Pakistan late this month.

He will be followed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, according to US and Pakistani sources, as reported by the AFP.

The wire service further adds that the one-two punch is designed to drill home Trump’s message that Pakistani state support for jihadist groups has to end, according to officials briefed on the visits.

With little change since then, Trump came to office indicating that Washington’s frustration had reached the point where something had to give.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said in an August address.

But in the six weeks since Trump signaled that tougher tone, there have been precious few signs that the calculus in South Asia has changed.



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