ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Pakistan late Wednesday to press the new government on eliminating militant safe-havens as US-led troops prepare to leave Afghanistan.
He arrived in Islamabad shortly before 9PM ahead of meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani on Thursday.
Pakistani-US relations have been deeply troubled in recent years but recovered somewhat from the crisis sparked by the US killing of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Islamabad demands an end to US drone attacks targeting al Qaeda and Taliban operatives and bristles over US insistence that it do more to eradicate the threat posed by Islamist militants.
Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment runs high, complains that the United States fails to appreciate the sacrifices it has made in fighting terror, claiming to have lost 40,000 people since 2001.
But US officials say they are hopeful that Sharif's election and the impending withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan offers a new opportunity to re-craft relations along realistic objectives.
"We have obviously seen a pretty tumultuous relationship with Pakistan over the course of the last four and half years," a senior US official told reporters.
"Starting last summer I think we entered into a very constructive period. We really try to have much more sober expectations, to be more realistic," the official added.
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Wasnt this guy in the Middle East recently? Did he achieve anything there? Or does he just like to travel around?
what he will leave behind would be some new jargon or expression like 'road map' 'good taliban bad taliban' 'paradigm shift' etc and every loser would be using it for the next few months in articles, discussions and speeches.
@Raj - USA: "What are the important issues that should be discussed with John Kerry?" +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Obviously the 200 Indian Consulates in Afghanistan and the US desire for a direct role for India in Afghanistan.
give me money I'll give you sky for drone.
@Tamur: Polpot has made a sarcastic comment.
What are the important issues that should be discussed with John Kerry? In one Pakistan TV channel I watched today, the anchor allotted over a third of the air time to the issue of Afia Siddiqi and Shakil Afreidi.
@Tamur: Oh yea, blame it on IK. Everyone does, even if the news is totally not about IK.
Great news. This visit may just be the impetus required to usher Pakistan into the 19th century.
@Polpot: If Pakistanis don't believe in Rehman Malik, why would you think that Americans should?
Question: Dera Ismail Khan jail is in Pakistan, right?
@US Centcom: Are you Blind ?
@Tamur: He was sarcastic
Welcome to Pakistan. Lets Talk Business. Please not " Do More." Both Failed along with Europe.
@Voice: yes sir, and JUPHIAAN to you.
@Polpot: Oh really??? What do think Waziristan is? It is the biggest safe haven for terrorists and now KP is a safe haven. Thanks to IK looking to negotiate with these Taliban thugs.
John Kerry NOT WELCOME.
For security reasons, dignitaries should henceforth be hosted in one of Pakistan's other capitals including London, Dubai, Beijing or Riyadh.
Sen. Kerry is a wise and mature politician. He makes decisions on rational grounds. I am sure, Pakistan will benefit to set a right direction during his tenure with new Pakistani govt.
Best wishes for a viable partnership.
@Ali Khan. I suspect the US taxpayers would prefer the military spend their hard earned tax dollars for something other than having military personnel cruising web sites making politically correct speeches - after they already fund an expensive State Dept which makes those same speeches via daily public briefing which are available online to anyone.
@ Mohammad Siddiqui Nobody wants to meet the powerless, characterless, personalityless doodh rabri seller Mamnoon Hussain. It's the shame on us Pakistanis that PML-N found him as the most reasonable out of 180 million people to be the President of this country.
"US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Pakistan late Wednesday to press the new government on eliminating militant safe-havens " +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Pakistani ambassador to UN has already said that there are no safe havens inside Pakistan. Even Rehamn Malik said that. Why dont the Americans understand?:)
He should have come to Pakistan after September 09, 2013 so that he should have met the new President Mr. Mamnoon Hussian as well and therefore he would have met the entire top slot in one go.
Now he has to come back after the new President will take oath.
We share a common stance against terrorism, and our shared will and desire to stabilize the region continues to binds us together. It is easy to see that our nations are working hard to create a healthy working relationship. We’ve seen the negatives of staying on the opposites sides of the fence, and at the same time, we’ve greatly benefited from working closely. It only makes sense for us to be on the same page for the betterment of the region. These meetings allow us to address any shared concerns in regards to our common objectives. We are working hard to build on our improving relationship. We’ve always said that we cannot have a stable region without a stable Pakistan. We’ve always appreciated all of Pakistan’s sacrifices in the region and look forward to maintaining a good working relationship for the safety of our nations.
Ali Khan DET, United States Central Command
pakistan is a banana state now. you cant even announce the visit of a foreign dignitary prior to their arrival.
welcome. ..consider it your own home. ..:p