Pakistan postpones a visit by a US acting Assistant Secretary of State


ISLAMABAD, Aug 28 (TNS): US Embassy in Pakistan has confirmed the postponement of the visit of Acting United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells.

Wells was set to visit Islamabad today on August 28 to discuss “cooperation in the region”, said a US State Department media note.

US Embassy spokesman Rick Sinelsine told Reuters in Islamabad on Sunday that trip was postponed at the request of the Government of Pakistan. The new date of the visit is not confirmed, he said, adding that the trip has been “postponed until a mutually convenient time.”

Pakistan’s foreign ministry released a statement with similar wording.

Neither side gave a reason for the postponement, but everyone knows that Pakistan dismay over US President Donald Trump’s speech being the sole reason behind this big diplomatic development.

Trump on last Monday delivered a speech on Afghanistan policy, accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists. Islamabad strongly rejected Trump’s accusation and is currently busy discussing the new US policy with China, Russia, and Turkey.

Pakistani officials responded by saying the US should not “scapegoat” Pakistan and accused the American military of failing to eliminate militant sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.

In the southern metropolis of Karachi, police fired teargas at protesters from a religious student group as they began moving toward the US consulate building.

Between 100 and 150 protesters carrying placards bearing pictures of President Trump and chanting anti-US slogans were kept at bay by police and not allowed within 3 km (2 miles) of the consulate.

A day after Trump accused Pakistan of duplicity, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned Pakistan that it could lose its status as a privileged military ally if it continues giving ‘safe haven’ to Afghan militant groups.

Tillerson had claimed that Washington has “leverage” over Pakistan, “a non-NATO ally” that has been receiving US aid.

US Ambassador David Hale held separate meetings with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to brief them on the new policy.

Army Chief told him in a categorical tune that Pakistan is not looking for any material or financial assistance from the US, but trust, understanding and the acknowledgment of contributions it has made during the war on terror.