Want to find a common ground to work together: Mattis on Pak visit

Kuwait: United States Defence Secretary James Mattis on Sunday said he would want to find a common ground to work together with Pakistan.

Reportedly, the defence secretary was asked en route to Kuwait if he would prod Pakistan, to address its alleged support for the militants, when he visits there.

In his response, Mattis said, “That’s not the way I deal with issues. I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together.”

Mattis had, in October, said the United States would try “one more time” to work with Islamabad before taking “whatever steps are necessary”, VoA reported.

Mattis will visit Pakistan on December 4 to discuss the South Asian Strategy. The 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.

The visit is part of a five-day trip to the region “to re-affirm the enduring US commitment to partnership in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia,” reported the Washington Post, citing a statement by the US Department of Defence.

The US defence secretary is likely to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Abassi and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwaand.

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)