Zardari to visit Washington next week

Islamabad, Jan 4 (ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will visit the United States next week, officials in Islamabad have confirmed.

Zardari is scheduled to attend a memorial service of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who died on December 13, and also meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, they said.

The memorial service for Holbrooke, who was US President Barack Obama's Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, is scheduled for January 12 in Washington, where he will be buried.

"The president will visit the US from January 12. This visit is primarily for the memorial service of Richard Holbrooke but the president will also have meetings with US officials," The Express Tribune quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit, as saying.

"It is confirmed that he will meet Secretary Clinton. The other meetings are being worked out and hopefully details will be finalised in a day or two," Basit added.

Zardari's visit to Washington comes at a time when Pakistan is witnessing a major political crisis, as the PPP-led coalition government has become a minority one following one of its key allies Muttaheda Qaumi Movement's decision to sit on the opposition benches in parliament.

Although the United States has played down the impact of Pakistan's political crisis on the fight against terrorism, it has expressed fears that political instability in the country could hamper the campaign against terrorism in the region. (ANI)

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