ISLAMABAD: With US presidential election campaigning in full swing, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to the US from September 18-22 may not be helpful in promoting Pakistan’s objectives.
Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, in a brief chat with Business Recorder, said that the Foreign Minister will be visiting Washington on a scheduled bilateral visit.
Khar’s five-day long visit to Washington is just 45 days ahead of the 57th US presidential election to be held on November 6 this year. The ruling Democrats and the opposition Republicans are heavily engaged sharing their agenda with the American people.
Currently, the Obama administration is under severe criticism from the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, over economic challenges facing the US and the killing of US envoy to Libya along with three other US diplomats in violent protests against a controversial film which has been denigrated in the Muslim world for its anti-Muslim stance. Foreign Office sources said that the Foreign Minister, during her visit, will meet her US counterpart Hillary Clinton to discuss mutual ties that only recently came out of a deadlock subsequent to the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at Salala border post in a Nato air strike.
Critics argued that a meeting with Clinton may not achieve any objective, as she has indicated a desire not to be the Secretary of State even if Obama is re-elected. Khar will also meet other senior officials of Obama administration and try to explore ways to revive Pakistan-US strategic dialogue, which was derailed after the May 2 US raid in Abbottabad that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
They said that Khar would also devote attention to preparing the ground for a possible meeting between President Obama and President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of 67th session of the UN General Assembly commencing on September 18.
President Obama, analysts maintained, might avoid the meeting as Pakistan was not seen as a reliable ally by the US general public and he may consider a meeting with President Zardari as a vote loser. Analysts further maintain that the Obama administration will not be in a position to take any important decision regarding its relations with Pakistan, as their focus will be on the elections and only after a victor emerges would the next administration be in a position to decide what measures to take with respect to ties between the two countries. (Online)