Rice to visit Islamabad after India tour?

December 2nd, 2008 - 2:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is likely to pay a visit to Islamabad after her scheduled trip to India Wednesday in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Mumbai, diplomatic sources said.According to the sources, the Pakistani embassy in Washington has succeeded in convincing the Bush administration to include Islamabad in the itinerary of Rice during her visit to South Asia.

Though there is no official announcement either by Washington or Islamabad, the diplomats said that Rice will be visiting Pakistan after speaking to the Indian leadership on the terror attacks.

Speaking to the media in London, Rice said that she was concerned that the blame game between the two countries could escalate tensions to the point of actual conflict.

“Well, I’d just note that the lines of communication are open between them; that when I speak with the Indians, they talk about the very good initial statements from the Pakistani government,” she said.

The coalition government in Pakistan is focussing its attention on drawing national and international support against India’s accusations that Pakistani elements were involved in last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai in which at least 183 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

The government has asked its envoys in world capitals to brief the respective governments on Islamabad’s stand on the issue.

The government is also busy contacting political parties to drum up support.

Meanwhile, a senior official denied reports that there was any extra-ordinary movement of troops in Pakistan. “Only routine movements are taking place and it has already been cleared by the military spokesman,” said the official.

He said the government has received a request from Kabul that troops from the Pakistan-Afghan border must not be removed. The official said that the government is in touch with the Hamid Karzai administration and both the countries are monitoring the situation.

Sources said that Tuesday morning, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia met senior Pakistani officials in response to Pakistan’s request for help in defusing the situation arising after the terror attacks.

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