ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States appear to have made progress in normalising their fragile relationship, with clear signs emerging on Friday both from Islamabad and Washington that the two countries were moving closer to resolving their differences on key issues.
Senior foreign ministry officials testified before the Senate’s foreign relations committee that ties between Pakistan and the US would be back on track in the “next few months”. The meeting between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and his US counterpart Michael Morell was described as ‘positive’, an account corroborated by US officials in Washington.
“Things are heading in the right direction and the relations are expected to be normalised fully in the next few months,” said Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, the head of the Senate’s foreign relations committee.
Senator Saifullah told reporters here that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar informed the committee that the differences between Pakistan and the US on certain issues “would be resolved soon.”
Relations between the two key allies in the war against terrorism hit a new low last week when the US withheld $800 million in military assistance to punish Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and launched a crackdown against the private CIA network in the country in the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid.
Khar confirmed that the aid was suspended over Islamabad’s move to compel Washington to pull out almost 150 military trainers. She is reported to have said that, of the suspended $800 million in aid, about $500 million was meant for the US trainers. She expressed the hope that the remaining $300 million would be released soon.
The committee directed the foreign ministry to submit details about the presence of US military personnel in Pakistan. It also urged the authorities to enter into written agreements with the US on counter-terrorism in order to avoid any ambiguity between the two countries.
The panel raised its concern over the use of a remote airbase in Balochistan by US forces. “The Shamsi airbase should not be allowed to be used by any foreign country,” said Senator Salim Saifullah.
The airbase was believed to be the key launching pad for the CIA’s drone campaign inside the country’s tribal belt. However, the government insists that airfield was used only for surveillance by the US.
Meanwhile, ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja wrapped up his trip to Washington, where he held crucial talks with the acting CIA chief.
An intelligence official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that the talks went well between the two.
Pasha’s visit to Washington was brief: he arrived on Wednesday and left on Thursday. He met with Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and other US intelligence officials. Both sides sought to renew ties of cooperation and move forward in an often challenging relationship.
“The discussions today between Lt Gen Pasha and the acting director of the CIA went very well,” a US official said on condition of anonymity. “They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and US national security,” the official said, without disclosing any more details. A senior official at the Pakistani embassy in Washington said the meetings helped stabilise the intelligence partnership.
“Both sides were able to agree on the way forward in intelligence,” the Pakistani official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “This visit has put the intelligence component back on track.”
Pasha had also been expected to meet with the heads of congressional intelligence committees during this visit, but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a US source familiar with the visit said.
(With additional input from Reuters)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
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@Sanaullah: "Did we surrender as usual?"
Well, convert your question to statement and you will have the answer ...
Any reasonable person would agree that in case of any foreign incursion, it is the duty of armed forces to protect the country. But let’s take this a bit further, even if we dismiss that for whatever reason, we cannot deny that a Naval base or any military facility is what needs to be protected at any cost by the forces. Mr. Sharif like an astute politician is using this as a leverage to initiate his long marches. Imran Khan on the other hand is focused on drones. His “sit ins” are supposedly aimed to halt those “incursions.” Shahbaz Sahib has said “no to foreign aid” strictly for Punjab. In the end it is all rhetoric and it has no material impact. Let’s pose the same question to Mr. Sharif, if he was on the hot seat in Islamabad, what would have he done differently. He tried once and October 1999 is still fresh in our memories. Even if you bring a child and lay these facts, in front of him or her, they will tell you the same thing. But as I said it is politics after all. Try to exploit a situation for political mileage. The right wing and their ideologically aligned partners are chest thumping for all the wrong reasons.
Pasha is visiting his masters. God knows what is next in his plate.
@Imran: very good elaboration of the pic. good thinking
@Aftab Kenneth Wilson: nobody smile when stands attention,our generals are smiling at American generals because what he is saying he dosen't mean it. This is American style towards his friends and enemies.
Every day is a new day in Pakistan as far as PAK AM friendship is concern ,I am confused what NDU (National Defence University) Islamabad is teaching and producing for military the maximum and civil departments.Every year parrots for carrier requirement selected and millions are spent and there is no contribution from them in any long or short term national policy, How to guard national interest against country or a monster.Shame for those who feel proud of holding NDU degree.
I understand that US provided assurances as to Pakistan's involvement and role in Afghanistan!!! Why? They obviously can not even even deal with the mess in their own country, let alone act in any capacity in any neighbouring country !!!! Now it makes sense as to why Pasha was happy with the talks !! But do note that only the Civilian Aid is inaffected, there is no mention about Military Aid at all !!! So one assumes that, its unlikely to be released in near future !
And how about a filter for comments that make no sense?
Our pakistani generals are liars always have been - last week they said we aint interested in military aid and today they're flying over to ask for it! Why cant you just be honest with the people of pakistan for a change - you've robbed, lied, decieved and punished us long enough! This army behaves more like a punjabi mafia and we're bloody sick & tired of it now. Enough is enough
The tough posture by Pak was certainly for the public consumption and its business as usual between the two agencies. However, the General must have been told categorically not to play cat and mouse games anymore but US would still be disappointed since old habits die hard.
"And you my man", said Mullen pointing to Kiani, "you'll have $2mill on top of your monthly remuneration". And Kiani couldn't be happier, at least that's what the smile on his face suggested... Mission was accomplished, and the next morning he was flying back with Pasha.
"Things went very well and in the right directon:"US Drones will fly from east to west. i.e. from Pakistan to Afghanistan and everywhere else. US special forces will fly in any direction and Pakistan will always show up 2 hours late. Supplies will move from Karachi to Afghanistan as and when US says so ISPR will spin things in its direction Pakistan troops will move to FATA and other alphabet soups Pakistan will prostrate for aid and arms only in one direction. ISI chief will always fly in one direction to give updates to the master.
Everything moving in the right direction!
Doesn't matter what Pakistan says --- the USA has made it very clear that it will judge Pakistan based on actions not words. This is the message that comes from every American spokesperson - everyone seems to understand the message but Pakistan.
actual it is relation between loin and goat
Did we surrender as usual?
It is high time, ISI chief visit India for intelligence cooperation.
It will in a long way help in improving relations. That way, Pakistan can contribute positively
I missed out Can someone tell me Who said I am sorry
It is symbiotic relation which will go on like this as some of the deals are not for public and not digestible for other countries and extremists in Pakistan. Enemies of Pak will be happy when we are in conflict with neighbours and particularly with supper powers. Since Pak is in good terms with china as well, the enemies of Pak can’t sleep well.
Could you please please ask them to give Pakistan a break and concentrate on catastrophic fallout of the endgame. The journey from the Great Game to end-game is not very long and the endgame has already started looking like a game-changer. If this continues, militants may end up owning half the world after the draw-down comes to an end. Emboldened by the end-game (read: US defeat), they will have South and Central Asia to themselves and will have the lever too. And they have proved that they can fix the lever wherever they want. They will move and shake the whole world at will and with incredible ease. South and Central Asian region will not be the only candidate for destabilization. The instability has the inherent tendency of travelling faster than the bush fire.
I think there should be an age filter on the Express Tribune message board. You should be at least out of your teens to post here.
Pakistan Army can not live with out US $ just like fish can not live alive out of water.. never any one dare to ask why Amrerica is killing innocent people of trial areas through drone attacks... It is better to declare paksitan as the one of States of USA, in this way i think may be poor people get some relief by becoming US citizen becuase US know how to protect their Citizens.........America just stop the Dollars and soon our ISF chief fly to America and things come back on track .. every thing is NORMAL becuase all things will be happend in futuere according to wishes of America.. This is power of so called atomic power.. if our rulers need DOLLARS i think it is better to sold atomic techonolgy to any rich muslim country,,,,,,,,,,,,
can any rational person in Pakistan imagine that spy ties between are estranged? US is the donor country and unfortunately all top military leadership totally depend on US economically and even to sustain power. in this scenario, this notion is absolutely absurd that spy ties between US and Pakistan are normalizing. the whole country and whole political and military leadership has been pledged to the US.
Typical nature of Pak defence establishment "Bark first beg later and forget every thing once you get money"
.. hahahaha.. look at the chief, from his face it feels like he is enjoying the conversation and thinking.. keep talking, I will do only what I think is good for us. And Pasha, is like telling.. "hey Mullen..Don't Joke"
No body donates like the US dose ... and no one is ready to bend as much as ... uh ! . Those sticks ..well ..they are part of the game ...
Why in this picture our Chiefs are standing in "Attention" position whereas USA Chiefs seem to be telling them something obvious for the soldiers standing in these positions?????? Anyhow lot of giggles are on their faces, for what, God Knows and if someone knows then kindly tell us????
"some US military aid will be released soon" I can see smiles on our big hitters but where is that statement describing we do not need USA military aid, send only civilian aid?! Whole nation is being deceived. Just openly make a U-Turn and whole-heartedly join the efforts of USA to up-root the terrorism and fanaticism, this is our war at the expense of others and we must win it.
does this mean the army has decided to go into North Waziristan?...that wouldn't be prudent....in fact far from it. I suggest the generals to think twice.
Thank God the tough message by ISI/army to the US, personally delivered by Pasha has worked like a charm. The Americans must have stopped the drone attacks and apologized for them. They are also retracting their statements about Pakistan protecting OBL. The American generals were shaking in their boots by the tough message! To be realistic, have we promised never to harbor any terrorist and take action in North Waziristan? Only after that promise money would start flowing again.
So where are those who criticized Mirza Sahib when he pointed out that in an act of defiance you don’t travel to the other corner of the globe to tell the CIA chief on his face that his private rings will be busted? The trip was indeed meant to put things on track while here the media was putting a twist on it to improve the image of the agency, just for domestic consumption.