US rushes two top officials to Pakistan

US rushes two top officials to Pakistan

National Security Adviser James L Jones and CIA chief Leon E Panetta are likely to land in Pakistan today, in the highest-level American visit to Pakistan since the May 1 failed bombing.

Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, 30, has been arrested by the federal authorities on charges of plotting the bomb at the Times Square on May 1. The US has said the investigations implicate the Pakistani Taliban in the attack.

General Jones "would not threaten the Pakistanis, but would convey the risks to the country's relationship with the United States if a deadly terrorist attack originated there", a senior Obama Administration official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also warned Pakistan of "serious consequences" if a terrorist attack originated there.

Jones plans to prod them to take tougher steps against the Taliban and other insurgent groups, the official noted.

Panetta and Jones would meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha during their visit.

"In light of the failed Times Square terrorist attack and other terrorist attacks that trace to the border region, we believe that it is time to redouble our efforts with our allies in Pakistan to close this safe haven and create an environment where we and the Pakistani people can lead safe and productive lives," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in Washington.

At least three Pakistani nationals have also been arrested in the US on charges of providing finances to Shahzad, though it is yet to be known whether they knew where the money was being used.

Pakistani authorities too have made several arrests in Karachi and other parts of the country in connection with the Times Square plot.

The paper said the delegation may push Islamabad to get into North Waziristan -- stronghold of the Pakistan Taliban -- where Shahzad also claims to have trained.

So far, the Pakistani army has not entered the dangerous border region but has been preoccupied in South Waziristan and Swat