US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew into Pakistan on Friday with “tough questions” for the country’s leadership nearly a month after US commandos killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad. The top US diplomat is to meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and the chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the State Department said. Clinton will be accompanied in the meetings by chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and is expected to demand more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against al Qaeda and Taliban militants. She will also likely push for an investigation into bin Laden’s time as a fugitive in Pakistan, and help push for a political solution to the nearly 10-year war against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Relations between Pakistan and the United States, wary at the best of times, sank to new lows after US Navy SEALs swooped on the al Qaeda chief’s compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, home to a military academy, on May 2. Kayani has said any similar raid would prompt a review of military cooperation with the United States and Islamabad asked Washington to reduce the strength of US military personnel to a minimum. The discovvery that the world’s most-wanted man was living just a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point raised troubling questions about whether anyone in the Pakistani establishment was protecting him. Western officials have long accused Pakistan’s intelligence services of playing a double game by fighting militants who pose a domestic threat, but protecting those who fight against American troops in Afghanistan. “They are now having to look at some very tough questions that they either tried to avoid or which they gave inadequate answers to before,” a senior US official told reporters travelling with Clinton. “They have cooperated. We have always wanted more…but now the sense of urgency is different,” the official added. In Paris on Thursday, Clinton said the United States had “expectations” from Pakistan but stressed that it wanted “long-term” security ties with the country, seen as integral to the war effort in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s leaders were humiliated by the discovery that bin Laden had been living, possibly for years, in Abbottabad and by the American raid, which unfolded without Pakistan being told. Pakistani troops have been fighting home-grown Taliban for years in its northwest and militant attacks have killed more than 4,400 people across the country since July 2007 in revenge attacks for the government’s US alliance. “We have to see what they’re prepared to do…from their perspective they’ve done a lot,” said the US official. “What they never really grasped is how much more they have to do in order to protect themselves and, from our point of view, protect our interests and assist us in ways that are going to facilitate our transition in Afghanistan.” Clinton is expected to welcome Pakistan’s “positive actions” in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death, such as providing access to the compound and his wives, and giving back the tail of a helicopter damaged in the raid. “Opportunities and risks were created by the bin Laden operation. Our job is to try to minimise the risks and to maximise the opportunity,” the official told reporters. Pakistan has suffered a wave of attacks since the May 2 raid, with the country’s main Taliban faction claiming a series of major hits to avenge his death in the American raid, further embarrassing the security forces. The latest attack killed 32 people in a suicide car bomb outside a Pakistani police station in the northwestern town of Hangu late Thursday. The government this week authorised “all means” to wipe out militants, but stopped short of unveiling specific new military operations.
BY: Dawn News