Eastern Eye (UK)
US delegation in Pakistan to rebuild ties after Khan tension
THE US State Department counselor, Derek Chollet, is leading a delegation to Pakistan this week as Washington and Islamabad seek to repair ties strained under former prime minister Imran Khan.
The US delegation is in Bangladesh and Pakistan from Tuesday (14) until Saturday (18) to meet senior government officials, civil society members and business leaders, the State Department said in a statement on Monday (13).
Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament last April, had antagonised the US throughout his tenure. He welcomed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, and accused Washington of being behind the attempt to remove him from office in 2022.
Washington and Pakistan’s National Security Council, a body of top civil and military leaders, dismissed his claims. Khan was succeeded as prime minister by Shehbaz Sharif.
The US delegation’s visit comes as Pakistan’s $350-billion (£287.6bn) is still reeling from devastating floods last year that left at least 1,700 people dead. The government estimates that rebuilding efforts will cost at least $16bn (£13.1bn).
Talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were scheduled to resume online this week after 10 days of face-to-face discussions in Islamabad on how to keep the country afloat ended without a deal last Friday (10).
The Dawn newspaper reported late in January that Pakistan had sought US support to unlock the stalled IMF programme that would release $1.1bn to its strained economy as the country rebuilds.
“The delegation will also reaffirm the strong security cooperation between our nations,” the State Department said on Monday.
Economic ties and cooperation to tackle the impact of climate change would be on the agenda in the meeting between US and Pakistani officials, the department added.