Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

James Mattis in Pakistan to mend ties

James Mattis in Pakistan to mend ties

Mattis meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during a visit to Islamabad, Dec. 4, 2017.

Visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Monday arrived in Islamabad on his first-ever official visit carrying with him a strong message of Trump administration seeking a reinvigorated, consistent and long-term relationship with Pakistan.

Gopalaswamy told the VOA Urdu show View 360 that Pakistan's claims it is fighting extremism have been undercut by the release from house arrest of Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed, who has been accused of masterminding terrorist attacks in India. "The Secretary reiterated that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country", White said in the statement.

The visit takes place at a time when Pakistan faces tough times ahead in the wake of veiled United States threats of renewed sanctions over Islamabad's alleged inability to curb terrorism and hunt down Afghan Taliban's Haqqani network, now engaged in carrying out attacks against American troops operating in the war-torn country. The strategy seeks Pakistan's support to defeat the Taliban as Washington believes that only a defeat will force them to reconcile with the Afghan government. "Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan".

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Minister for defense Khurram Dastgir, foreign minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, national security adviser Nasser Khan Janjua, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar and senior officials were present in the meeting.

"It was quite a frank exchange overall, in which there was no hostility", the minister said of the Pakistani leadership's meetings with the top USA official.

USA officials say they have not seen a change in Pakistan's support for militants, despite visits by senior US officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Pakistan has also been upset at Trump's calls for an increased Indian role in rebuilding Afghanistan.

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"We have eliminated safe havens from Pakistan's soil but are prepared to look into the possibility of miscreants exploiting Pakistan's hospitality to the Afghan refugees to the detriment of out Afghan brothers", the statement reads.

"There is not an effective stick anymore because Pakistan doesn't really care about U.S aid, it has been dwindling anyway and it is getting the money it needs elsewhere. treat it with respect and actually reward it when it does do something good", said Madiha Afzal, with the Brookings Institution.

Jim Mattis in Islamabad on Monday. "I don't think things can move in ambiguity anymore".

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