Negroponte, Boucher in Pakistan to observe smooth transfer of power today

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Islamabad, Mar 25 : To observe a smooth transfer of power in Pakistan, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher reportedly arrived here late last night on an unscheduled visit.

The visit was not planned and only relevant Pakistani officials were informed about it at the last moment, the Daily Times quoted diplomatic sources as saying.

They added that besides observing the peaceful transition of power, the two officials might chip in with their own guiding voice.

According to the paper, both US embassy officials and Foreign Office did not comment on the purpose of the US officials' visit.

The timing of the visit was carefully chosen by the senior State Department officials who are quite familiar with Pakistani politics, the sources said, and added: "They arrived here on the day the new prime minister was elected by parliament and this timing of the visit speaks a lot about its purpose."

The sources said that Negroponte and Boucher would meet newly elected Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.

Sources in the PML-N said Negroponte would discuss the political developments in the country and the war on terror with Nawaz Sharif.

Besides, the visiting leaders would also meet President Pervez Musharraf, who would administer oath to Prime Minister Gillani at President's House on Tuesday (today).

ANI

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