US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to begin talks with Pakistani leaders on Thursday to discuss important issues, ranging from bilateral relations to regional situation, officials said.  

Kerry, who arrived Wednesday evening, will meet top political and military leaders in his first visit to Islamabad since the new gov’t has assumed office in June.

During his stay‚ he will hold talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

The two sides are expected to discuss resumption of strategic dialogue as well as cooperation in diverse fields including energy.

The strategic dialogue between both the countries had been stopped after the U.S. fighter jets bombed a Pakistani post and killed 24 soldiers in November 2011. The last round of talks was held in October 2010 in Washington. 

The Foreign Ministry has indicated that the controversial issue of the U.S. drone strikes in the country’s tribal regions will be raised during the visit.

US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Pakistan will reinforce Washington’s continuing commitment to Pakistan.

A statement released by State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki in Washington‚ said Kerry is in Pakistan “for consultations with the newly elected civilian government and to reinforce the United States’ continuing commitment to the Pakistani people.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday discussed with top officials agenda for talks with John Kerry, officials said.

The PM office said a meeting of all relevant stakeholders was called to discuss important regional developments including those relating to Afghanistan.

Sources said the meeting discussed agenda to be discussed with Mr Kerry. Army Chief, Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, D.G. ISI, Lt. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam, Advisor on National Security, Sartaj Aziz, Interior Minister, Nisar Ali Khan and Foreign Secretary, attended the meeting. 

Adviser to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had extended invitation to visit Mr Kerry during a meeting on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum on July 2.

The US secretary of State was previously expected to arrive in Pakistan on July 29. However the trip was later postponed due to his engagement with the Syrian and Middle Easter issues and the illness of his wife.

 

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