Situationer: Pak, US aim to revive close cooperation

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan and the United States are aiming to revive close cooperation after a long phase of trust deficit. The two uneasy allies have never really shunned each other but in the last many years, they have never been too close either. This week, the Foreign Office had a good news on the bilateral relations announcing that Pakistan will witness back-to-back visits by senior US officials starting December 4.

Later, the US State Department confirmed the visit of Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes to Pakistan, saying she would be in Islamabad for a series of meetings from December 4 to 7. The statement described the purpose of her visit to discuss “shared efforts to protect vulnerable individuals and accelerate safe, efficient relocation and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US immigration pipeline.”

Pakistan has launched a deportation drive against “illegal immigrants” for security reasons, affecting the lives of a number of Afghans who left their homeland after the Taliban swept back to power after US and NATO troops pulled out of the war-ravaged country in August 2020. “Pakistan and the United States continue to hold consultations on a range of issues,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement. “To advance these consultations, exchange of visits also takes place.” She identified three US officials, noting that Noyes’ visit would be followed by Special US Representative on Afghanistan Tom West, scheduled to be in Pakistan from December 7 to 9, and then by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst, who plans to visit Islamabad from December 9 to 12.

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