Amid tensions, ISI chief to visit US (Lead)

July 13th, 2011 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 13 (IANS) More than two months after the killing of Osama bin Laden almost derailed ties with the US, Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, is set to leave for Washington Wednesday.

Although there is no official word on the trip, media reports here said that Gen. Pasha would stay in the US for a day and probably discuss coordination between the American and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

It will be the first visit by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief to Washington after US commandos stealthily flew into the Pakistani city of Abbottobad May 2 and gunned down the elusive Al Qaeda chief.

The killing badly strained ties between the US and Pakistan. For the first time, Pakistani military and intelligence agencies came under widespread criticism domestically for failing to prevent the US intrusion.

The US announcement last week stopping millions of dollars in aid to the Pakistani military following the expulsion of more than 100 US Special Forces trainers by Islamabad has strained the relations further.

About $800 million in military aid and equipment - over a third of the more than $2 billion US security aid to Pakistan - could be suspended or cancelled.

The Dawn newspaper said Gen Pasha’s visit follows top US military official Gen. James Mattis’s meetings with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne in Rawalpindi Tuesday.

There was intense speculation after the May 2 US raid that Gen. Pasha had been sacked or that he had travelled to Washington to explain how Osama ended up so deep inside Pakistan.

There were also calls for his sacking but he survived the crisis.

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