NEW YORK - Two days after suicide bombings at a church in Peshawar left 81 dead, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces criticism at home for leaving for a foreign visit on the day of the attack; and questions in New York, upon his arrival. At the United Nations, the Pakistani permanent mission has a sound repute, and considerable clout. But news coming from Pakistan is consistent with that of a country unable to right it's own affairs.
Planning for the Pakistani premiere's visit to the UN has been underway for weeks. Meetings with the MD of the IMF, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Secretary General of NATO and the President of the European Council are on the agenda. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also scheduled to with the Pakistani Prime Minister in New York.
Bilateral meetings with the Emir of Qatar, the President of Iran, Chinese Foreign Minister, President of Tunisia, President of Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and Prime Minister of Japan are expected.