PM, COAS meet ahead of Kerry’s visit

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Islamabad on Wednesday. The two discussed the agenda for their meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry upon his coming visit to Pakistan, sources said. During the meeting, the army chief apprised the prime minister of his recommendations on issues of strategic importance. The two moreover decided that Pakistan’s civil and military leadership take an integrated and unified stance during its dialogue with the US.

The prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam and the premier’s special assistant on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi were also present during the meeting.

Kerry is expected to arrive in Islamabad on July 31. He had accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan, extended to him by Aziz during a meeting held on the sidelines of the 20th Ministerial Meeting of the Asean Regional Forum on July 2.

The US secretary of state is expected to hold meetings with the president, the prime minister, and the premier’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security on August 1.

Kerry is also likely to hold meetings with Pakistan’s top military leadership.

Key issues including drone attacks inside Pakistani territory are expected to be discussed during the US official’s visit.