Top Pakistan general cancels visit to US
Last Updated: Friday, May 13, 2011, 16:09
  
Islamabad: Pakistan's senior military officer, General Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, on Friday cancelled a scheduled visit to the United States, a military official said.

Alluding to the fallout from a unilateral US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 02, the senior official said the visit had been cancelled "in view of the prevailing environment".

"General Khalid Shameem Wynne contacted his counterpart in the US, Admiral Mike Mullen, and informed him about the cancellation of his visit to the US that was scheduled from May 22 to 27," the official said.

Wynne is the ceremonial head of Pakistan's powerful military establishment that is effectively run by Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani.

The Pakistani official said that the visit to the United States had been at the invitation of Mullen and was scheduled a couple of months ago.

Wynne informed Mullen by telephone that he would not be coming, the official added, but declined to give any further details.

Under growing domestic pressure to punish Washington for the bin Laden raid, Pakistan's civilian government said on Thursday it would review counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.

It was unclear if the move was intended as a threat, but it showed the extent of the task facing US Senator John Kerry as he prepares to embark on a mission to shore up badly strained ties with Washington's fractious ally.

Washington said it did not inform Islamabad that an elite team of Navy SEALs had helicoptered into the garrison town of Abbottabad until the commandos had cleared Pakistani airspace, carrying with them bin Laden's corpse.

Pakistanis have been outraged at the perceived impunity of the US raid, while asking whether their military was too incompetent to know bin Laden was living close to a major forces academy, or, worse, conspired to protect him.

Bureau Report


First Published: Friday, May 13, 2011, 16:09


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