Pakistan's ISI chief to visit US from Wednesday
Pakistan’s ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will visit the US from August 1 to 3 to meet his CIA counterpart David Petraeus, the first meeting between the spy chiefs amidst persisting tensions between their countries.
“This will be a service-to-service bilateral visit, wherein he will meet his counterpart General David H Petraeus, Director of the CIA,” the military’s media arm on Sunday said in Islamabad in a brief statement without giving details.
On his maiden visit to the US after his appointment as the ISI chief, Islam is expected to raise Pakistan’s demand for ending US drone strikes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, counter-terror cooperation and intelligence-sharing.
In lieu, he is likely to offer to take action against terrorist networks and to “deploy F-16s” in the tribal areas, but would seek greater intelligence sharing from the US.
The two spy chiefs are expected to meet in Washington on August 2. Islam had called off a visit to the US two months ago when bilateral relations plunged to an all-time low.
The meeting between Islam and Petraeus would be a “make or break” affair since it could determine future relations between various organisations in Pakistan and the US, including the General Headquarters and the Pentagon, Pakistani media reports have said.
Sources in Washington said Islam is coming prepared to “talk tough” with his American counterparts and with his own set of demands and to do list for the US.
Pakistan has been pushing for an end to missile strikes by CIA-operated drones, saying they are counter-productive and a violation of the country’s sovereignty.