Islamabad, August 1: ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha has embarked on a secret visit to China that is being seen as part of Pakistan's efforts to reduce its dependence on the US in the wake of strained military and intelligence ties.
Pasha is expected to open a “broad-based strategic dialogue” with Beijing during his visit, The Express Tribune newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
The visit came less than two weeks after a trip to Beijing by Lt Gen Waheed Arshad, chief of general staff of the Pakistan army.
The ISI chief travelled to China days after the sudden departure of the CIA station chief in Islamabad and an attack in the restive Xinjiang region that Chinese authorities blamed on Islamic militants trained in a camp in Pakistan.
Lt Gen Arshad undertook a week-long trip to Beijing last month to discuss what officials in Islamabad described as “the option of a strategic dialogue” between Pakistan and China on the pattern of the Pakistan-US engagement, The Express Tribune reported.
Pasha was to leave for Beijing on Sunday evening, a security official told the daily but did not give details of his itinerary or the exact nature of his trip.
The ISI refused to confirm or deny the visit. An unnamed senior official of the ISI said such visits are classified.
The back-to-back trips to China by senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials are believed to be “necessitated by the simmering tensions between Pakistan and the US”, the report said. PTI