New York/Islamabad, Aug 28: A top US official’s visit to Islamabad has been postponed at the request of the Pakistan government amid anti-American protests in Karachi, according to media reports.
Pakistan’s Dawn daily on Sunday quoted US Embassy spokesman Rick Sinelsine as saying that the trip by Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State in-charge of South and Central Asia, was “postponed until a mutually convenient time” at the request of the Pakistani government.
Wells would have been the first high-level official to visit Pakistan after Donald Trump last week issued the bluntest warning so far by a US President that “it has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists”.
Samaa TV reported that police baton-charged and tear-gassed a protest rally by Imamia Student Organisation (ISO) in Karachi on Sunday “to condemn recent US allegations on Pakistan” as it tried to move towards the American consulate in the port city.
Wells, was slated to meet government and civil society leaders in Pakistan during the visit that was to begin on Monday.
According to the US State Department, Wells was also scheduled to visit Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The News International characterised Islamabad’s demand to postpone the visit as an act of defiance.
“It is not often that the Pakistani government has shown spine in the face of threats from Washington and by telling the State Department that officials concerned are not available, a clear message has gone through that enough is enough,” it wrote.
The Daily Times reported that Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in Sialkot that the Taliban were the problem of the US and Afghanistan and not of Pakistan.
“If the US doesn’t trust us, it should repatriate Afghan immigrants in Pakistan itself,” the daily quoted him as saying.
Pakistani media reported that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi “reaffirmed its continuing support to Pakistan and vowed to further strengthen strategic friendship with it” during a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in Beijing.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with General Li Zuocheng, Chief of Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Radio Pakistan reported.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Quadrilateral Counter Terrorism Coordination Mechanism (QCCM) meeting.