McCain arrives today with ‘his set of proposals’


Former presidential candidate and a key US senator, John McCain, is likely to arrive in Pakistan today (Saturday) on a two-day visit to discuss various bilateral, regional and global issues with the country’s leaders that will focus on the restoration of counter-terrorism cooperation between Islamabad and Washington.
The leading Republican is also likely to participate in a special ceremony to be held at the Presidency tomorrow in connection with the Independence Day.
According to a diplomatic source, President Asif Ali Zardari may confer the highest civilian award, Hilal-e-Pakistan, on Senator McCain in acknowledgement of his services for the enhancement of Pakistan-US relations.
However, the important aspect of Senator McCain’s visit was his talks with Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership for improving the ties between Islamabad and Washington that have been marred by tension and strain in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing.
“Senator McCain is likely to urge the Pakistani leadership to take immediate and stern action against the purported hideouts of al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Tribal Areas, particularly North Waziristan and in return, he could offer his good offices for the betterment of Pak-US ties,” the source said.
He said Pakistani leaders were likely to ask for a halt to the ongoing drone strikes in the Tribal Areas, as well as for the sharing of details by the US about its intelligence operatives still stationed in the country under the garb of diplomatic staff.