ISLAMABAD - The proposed visit of the US Secretary of State John Kerry to Pakistan on July 28 is being rescheduled and is now likely to take place either on July 29 or after the presidential elections in Pakistan.

According to sources in the Foreign Office, date and agenda of the visit of the US Secretary of State were not yet final.

While the new spokesperson of the US Embassy Meghan Gregonis also confirmed that date of the visit was not final, but sounded upbeat that Kerry would soon visit Pakistan. “The issue will be decided within couple of days,” she told The Nation while quoting the US State Department’s spokesperson as saying.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is regarded in Pakistan as one of the best friends of the country, was originally scheduled to visit Pakistan in June but he visit was slated for July 28 because of his engagements in the Middle East.

The July 28 date came after his recent meeting with Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister’s advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, at ASEAN regional forum held in Brunei. Both the leaders vowed to rebuild bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States based on mutual respect and mutual interest.

Some sources also maintained that US Secretary of State would not visit before the end of holy month of Ramazan or soon after presidential elections in Pakistan.

However, credible diplomatic sources told The Nation that John Kerry would not visit Pakistan until Islamabad and Washington mutually work out an agenda, a very crucial issue as suggested by the sources that includes Pakistan’s demand to bring an end to the US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Sources further said that Pakistan was also seeking free access to the US markets, US investment in Pakistan as well as establishment of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in FATA in a bid to do away with poverty and extremism the root causes of terrorism.

On the US side, Washington that recognises Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror wants to have deep cooperation with Islamabad on fighting terrorism and extremism, safe exit of US/ NATO troops and equipment through Pakistan, and establishment of peace in Afghanistan before the April presidential elections through reconciliation with Taliban.

Pakistan, despite heavy toll and economic melt down in the course of war on terror has been supporting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in the interest of peace and stability and has been facilitating peace efforts to Doha process that unfortunately fizzled out because of objection of the Afghan government about hosting of Taliban flag and their organisation name at Doha office. Pakistan is still struggling for the resumption of Doha process so that peace talks could start without further delay.