Monday, May 09, 2011

Obama's Pakistan trip may come unannounced


The US president might not fulfill the promise he made in the fall to visit Pakistan this year given the present circumstances.
The symbolic gesture that will strengthen the partnership of both countries in counterterrorism was put on hold after the death of the Al Qaeda leader caused by a bullet in the head during the raid of the US Navy Seals, according to AP.
Conducting the operations on its own, the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan soil last week casted doubts on both sides.
For one, Washington is now skeptical of Islamabad's commitment to fight terrorism because the infamous terrorist leader was found and killed near the capital where he lived for six years without Pakistani authorities' knowledge.
On the other hand, Pakistan warned the US that it will review its military activities in the country if they will repeat an attack of similar nature. The Asian country also slashed down to as much as 40 percent of US forces in their country, in an earlier report.
Obama's counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said, "I think there’s a commitment that the president has made that he is intending to visit Pakistan. A lot depends on availability, scheduling."
If the trip were cancelled, it will be seen as a sign of mistrust, the report said.
Former assistant secretary of state Karl Inderfurth advised that Obama's travel plan to Islamabad should remain on hold until the tensions had waned down.
"I don’t think that responsible officials on either side want to inject into that situation all that is required for a presidential visit, including safety and security. The Pakistanis know they are sitting atop a very volatile situation."
The US Congress is considering cutting down its annual $1.3 billion military aid to Pakistan that it considers an unreliable partner against terrorism.
To address the security issues, the president might make a surprise visit to Islamabad just like what he did in Afghanistan and Iraq before.
Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Pakistan this year. Former presidentGeorge W. Bush did the same in Iraq during his term.
Details of this report here.
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