–Pakistan to take up Kashmir issue, Afghanistan peace process with visiting top US diplomat
–Wells to hold meetings with Pakistan civil, military leadership, engage with civil society
ISLAMABAD: The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells arrived in Pakistan on Sunday to discuss Kashmir issue, Pakistan-US ties, Afghanistan peace process and other regional issues plaguing the country.
During the visit that spanned over a period of four days, the top diplomat will meet representatives from Pakistan’s political and military leadership to talk about several issues and engage with members of civil society on what the US State Department calls “issues of bilateral and regional concern”.
Sh will also speak at a think tank during her stay in the country.
The US envoy’s visit followed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Washington earlier this week, during which he called on his counterpart Mike Pompeo and discussed regional tensions, especially the turmoil in the Middle East post-Iranian general’s killing.
Qureshi had also held meetings with National Security Adviser Robert O’ Brien, and Under Secretary of Defence John Rood during his visit to the US.
The foreign minister, who undertook a three-day visit to the US on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan to help defuse tension in the Middle East, had briefed the top US official about his meetings during his recent visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia.
He had endorsed the claim made by the Afghan Taliban that they were willing to strike a peace deal with the US. “We have agreed to scale down military operations in days leading up to the signing of the peace agreement with the United States,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said on Saturday.
The focus of this visit will be on the imminent peace deal between the Afghan Taliban and the US expected by the end of this month. If the deal is signed by the end of this month, there is a possibility of high level visit from the US to Islamabad in order to acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts. Ambassador Wells is expected to
PAKISTAN TO TAKE UP KASHMIR WITH WELLS:
During the visit, Pakistani authorities will take up the issues of illegal bifurcation of occupied Kashmir, months-long curfew, human rights violations in the region, and New Delhi’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric.
Since Aug 5 when India scrapped Kashmir’s special status, the held region has been under lockdown, with internet and communication services suspended across the territory. Pakistan has taken up the Kashmir issue of the United Nations that has held two meetings over the issue hitherto.
On Wednesday, the UNSC held a meeting on Wednesday on Jammu and Kashmir and reviewed the situation in the India-occupied valley.
On Aug 16, the UNSC also considered the volatile situation in Kashmir, addressing the issue in a meeting focused solely on the dispute. This was the first such meeting since 1965.
The August meeting was held on China’s request, which asked the world body to review the rising tensions between South Asia’s two nuclear powers over the dispute. The issue had remained dormant since December 1971, when the UNSC held its last meaningful meeting on the Kashmir issue.
Another meeting of UNSC’s five permanent members was called on China’s request in December 2019 when the council asked the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to submit a report on the situation in Kashmir. The council also agreed to hold a special meeting on Kashmir to consider the UNMOGIP report.