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Pakistan ISI chief visits Washington

July 14, 2011 at 12:47 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- The Pakistani intelligence chief's U.S. visit would deal with rebuilding strained bilateral relations, diplomatic sources told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

In a dispatch from Washington, the newspaper said Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, arrived in Washington Wednesday.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since the May 2 killing by U.S. forces of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in his compound deep inside Pakistan. Since then Pakistan ordered the removal of U.S. military trainers and the United States in turn suspended $800 million of military assistance to Pakistan.

Dawn, citing sources, said Pasha's one-day visit would focus on improving relations and not on restoration of the suspended military aid as he meets with U.S. intelligence and security officials.

While Pakistan has protested the unilateral U.S. raid on the bin Laden compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad, U.S. officials want to know if the al-Qaida leader's stay in Pakistan was with the knowledge and help of some low-ranking Pakistani intelligence officials, CNN reported.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Pakistan had recently sanctioned the May killing of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, who had written about militants' penetration into Pakistani security forces. The Pakistani military and the ISI have denied involvement in that killing.

Pakistani diplomats said Pakistan's three major concerns are rebuilding bilateral relations, protecting its interests in Afghanistan, especially after U.S. forces leave, and a halt to anti-Pakistan propaganda in the United States, Dawn reported.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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