Pak PM Nawaz Sharif leaves for US visit

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will proceed on a four-day visit to the US tomorrow for talks on a host of issues with President Barack Obama. “During the visit, the Prime Minister will discuss besides regional situation, matters relating to defence, counter-terrorism, economic, trade, education, health and climatic change,” state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Sharif had been invited for the visit by Obama. He will meet the US president on October 22. According to official sources, he will apprise Obama about his vision for regional peace and building stable and peaceful ties with all neighbouring countries, especially India and Afghanistan.

He is also expected to share evidence of alleged “Indian interference” in internal affairs of Pakistan and support for militants active in Balochistan and Karachi. Sharif will also inform Obama about Pakistan’s efforts to start a dialogue between Afghanistan government and Taliban.

Sources said that that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar was already in the US where he is meeting officials and helping preparing grounds for the visit with the prime minister with help of Pakistan embassy.

The two sides also expected to talk over nuclear-related issues as Pakistan is pushing for a civilian nuclear agreement on the lines of the deal the US has with India.

Pakistan also wants to become part of the Nuclear Supplier Group. There are reports that the US wants Pakistan to limit its nuclear programme by keeping it India-specific and avoid building long-range missiles. Official sources said that Pakistan is not ready to accept any curb or limits on its nuclear program but ready to give commitment to keep its programme focused on doctrine of “full-spectrum deterrence”.

Sharif will also meet Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee and members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He will also have business interaction with Pakistan-US Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also deliver a speech at the US Institute of Peace.