Pakistan spy chief postpones US visit
ISLAMABAD - Agence France-PressePakistan’s chief spymaster on May 28 postponed a visit to the United States in the latest sign of tensions between the two allies struggling to get their relationship back on track.
Pakistan and the U.S. have been at loggerheads over Pakistan’s six-month blockade on NATO supplies for Afghanistan and last week’s sentencing of a Pakistani doctor hired by the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden.
While intelligence cooperation has continued, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul Islam’s decision not to accept a tentative invitation from CIA director David Petraeus this month was unlikely to be viewed favorably by all in Washington. In a short text message sent to reporters, the Pakistani military said only that the visit by the Inter-Services Intelligence director general had been “postponed due to his pressing commitments here.”
“There is no other reason of postponing the visit,” a spokesman said. Frustrations have been growing in Pakistan and the U.S. on how to break the impasse over the NATO supply lines and U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil.
Successful test of nuclear-capable missile
The postponement of the visit came as Pakistan said yesterday it had successfully test fired a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile. The Hatf IX has a range of only 60 kilometers and can carry conventional warheads, the military said.
“This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats, especially at shorter ranges,” it added in a statement. It was the third time Pakistan has test fired a ballistic missile since arch-rival India last month launched its new long-range Agni V, capable of hitting targets anywhere in China.