ISI chief to make three-day US trip in August

Pakistan's ISI chief Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam will visit the US from August 1 to 3 to meet his CIA counterpart David Petraeus, the first meeting between the spy chiefs amidst persisting tensions between the two countries.

"This will be a service-to-service bilateral visit, wherein he will meet his counterpart General David H Petraeus, Director of the CIA," the Pakistani military's media arm said in Islamabad on Sunday without giving details.

On his maiden visit to the US after his appointment as the ISI chief, Islam is expected to raise Pakistan's demand for ending US drone strikes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, besides counter-terror cooperation and intelligence-sharing.

In exchange, he is likely to offer to take action against terrorist networks and to deploy F-16s in the tribal areas, but would seek greater intelligence sharing from the US.

The two spy chiefs are expected to meet in Washington on August 2. Islam had called off a visit to the US two months ago when bilateral relations plunged to an all-time low. The meeting between Islam and Petraeus would be a "make or break" affair since it could determine future relations between various organisations in Pakistan and the US, including the General Headquarters and the Pentagon, Pakistani media reports have said.

Sources in Washington said Islam is coming prepared to "talk tough" with his US counterparts. He is likely to ask the US to provide drone technology to Pakistan so that the military can target militants.

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