Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two US envoys in Pakistan for talks

ISLAMABAD, March 25 (AFP) - Two top US diplomats flew into Pakistan Tuesday for talks with senior officials and politicians, officials said. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived in the early hours on the latest in a series of trips to the frontline state in the “war on terror”. “They arrived this morning. This is part of an ongoing series of visits to Pakistan -- they will meet with a wide variety of people,” US embassy spokesman Kay Mayfield told AFP.

The spokeswoman would not confirm whether Negroponte and Boucher would meet President Pervez Musharraf or other senior officials, although they have done so on several visits in the past. But Pakistani officials said the US diplomats would meet former premier Nawaz Sharif and officials from the Pakistan People's Party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, as well as government figures. “The two US officials are due to meet Nawaz Sharif for talks in Islamabad,” PML-N spokesman Siddique-ul Farooq told AFP. It was not clear if the US diplomats would meet President Musharraf or prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who was administered oath of office by Musharraf in a ceremony at the presidential palace Tuesday morning.

(ED: After the release of the illegally detained judges by the newly sworn-in premier and the recent assertions by the leaders of the PML-N and PPP to pursue diplomatic solutions to the insurgency in the north, it is likely that alarm bells are ringing within the neo-con halls of the Bush administration regarding the future of their objectives in the region. Undoubtedly, their emissaries are here to pressurise the new political leadership to abandon their stated aims of judicial restoration and peaceful conflict resolution in the north. The visit reeks of the neo-colonial mindset of the US administration towards the issue of independent policy-making by third world governments, especially in geopolitically important areas like Pakistan. It is incumbent upon Pakistani society to be vigilant and ensure that our elected representatives do not sway from the mandate upon which the people voted them into power.)

No comments: