ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is all set to visit United States from November 15 to 20, second time in a year.
The army chief is expected to hold meeting with top US officials during his stay in Washington at Pentagon and US State Department.
According to military sources, situation in Afghanistan and proposed Afghan-led peace process will remain the epicentre if his discussions with US authorities, in a time when Pentagon has categorically stated that it considers Afghan Taliban as partner to Afghan peace process.
The chief will also demand United States to press Afghanistan government to take action against Pakistani Taliban insurgents who are responsible for terrorist attacks on Pakistan.
Raheel Sharif will definitely inform US military leaders about the key achievements of Pakistan Army during the operation Zarb-e-Azb as well, the sources said.
Pakistan’s nuclear program and United States’ warship sale offer will also be taken up during the visit.
The visit comes hardly a month after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House. However the analysts consider the visit of General Raheel Sharif more crucial than the premier’s observing the fact that Pakistani military has always been powerful, and the main stakeholder in fight against terrorism and peace process in Afghanistan.
Lt General Rizwan Akhtar, the head of Pakistan’s strongest intelligence agency ISI, also marked US visit in mid October.
The sources are of the opinion that Raheel Sharif’s visit would be a continuation of Akhtar’s trip rather than the dialogue between Nawaz Sharif and Barack Obama.
Prior to the army chief’s visit, President Obama’s special adviser on South Asia Peter Lavoy is also due to visit Islamabad and meet civil and military officials.