US Defence Secy Mattis to visit Pakistan

ANI | Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:27 IST

Washington DC [USA], Dec 2 (ANI): United States Defence Secretary James Mattis will visit Pakistan on December 4 to discuss the South Asian Strategy.

The US Defence Secretary is likely to meet the Prime Minister Abassi and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwaand during his visit to Pakistan.

Yesterday, Mattis embarked on a journey to re-affirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia.

The US Department of Defense, in a statement, said, "Secretary Mattis will begin his engagements with a visit to Egypt on December 2, where he will meet with President el-Sisi and Minister of Defense Sobhy and then travel to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where he will participate in the Aqaba Process, a meeting on countering violent extremism in West Africa, hosted by His Majesty King Abdallah II of Jordan December 3."

"Secretary Mattis will then visit Pakistan Dec 4, where he is planning to meet with Prime Minister Abassi and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwaand and conclude his trip with a visit to Kuwait December 5, where he will meet with Emir Sabah Ahmad al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti leaders," it added.

Mattis' visit comes days after the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan following which the United States had strongly condemned Islamabad and called for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.

The White House, in a statement, had said: "The United States strongly condemns the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Haft Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution."

"A clear international consensus exists regarding Saeed's culpability-he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the United States, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice," it added.

The statement also said the Pakistan Government had an opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness in confronting all forms of terrorism, without distinction, by arresting and charging Saeed for his crimes.

Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, was released on November 24 after a Pakistan judicial body ordered his release from house arrest, rejecting a request from the government of Punjab to extend his detention by three months.

The decision to put Saeed under house arrest in January was seen as a response to actions by US President Donald Trump's White House against nations deemed linked to terrorism. (ANI)

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