- Pakistan Army chief General to visit to Washington in late August or early September
- The visit has not yet been officially confirmed
- Both sides have been trying to arrange such a visit for more than a year now
The US and Pakistani officials are considering various options for Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to Washington in late August or early September, according to a media report on Tuesday. “A date will soon be finalised,” the Dawn newspaper reported, quoting a diplomatic source as saying. Gen. Bajwa is expected to retire in November.
Since the visit has not yet been officially confirmed, neither side has announced the agenda of the talks Gen Bajwa is likely to hold in Washington, the report said. But diplomatic circles and think-tank experts point out that both sides have been trying to arrange such a visit for more than a year now.
They also refer to various recent events and statements that might be discussed if and when Gen Bajwa visits Washington.
“We remain engaged with a range of stakeholders in Pakistan, (including) those currently in the government” and with “a broad array of others,” the report quoted US State Department spokesperson Ned Price as saying. Last month, in an unusual move, Gen Bajwa reached out to Washington to request help in securing an early disbursement of funds from the International Monetary Fund for cash-strapped Pakistan. He spoke with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and later a State Department official rejected media speculation that the call was linked to the current political situation in Pakistan.
Later, Gen Bajwa also spoke with Commander US Centcom Gen Michael Erik Kurilla and, according to an official statement, the two discussed “matters of mutual interests, regional stability as well as defence and security cooperation in detail.” Gen. Bajwa's intervention was criticised by some Pakistani leaders, including former prime minister Imran Khan. Khan has said that it is not the job of the head of the military to deal with economic matters and his intervention means the country is getting weaker.