Islamabad, Aug 19 : US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in September for consultations with Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team on issues of mutual interests, sources told Dawn news on Sunday.

Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on September 5, will likely be the first foreign dignitary to meet Khan, who was sworn-in as Pakistan's 22nd Prime Minister on Saturday.

During his talks with Pakistani officials, Pompeo may focus on two major issues: efforts to revive once close ties between the two states and Pakistan's support for a US-led move to jump-starting the Afghan peace process, the sources said.

Alice Wells, who heads the Bureau for South Asian affairs at the State Department, may also accompany Pompeo.

Earlier this week, US officials urged Pakistan to help end the Afghan war, adding that recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan have not discouraged them from negotiating peace with some Taliban factions.

On Saturday, the US State Department said that it recognises and welcomes the new Pakistani Prime Minister, dispelling the impression that Washington was not happy with Khan's election, reports Dawn news.

In an earlier statement, a senior US official had hoped that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government would work with the US for translating tough issues into mutual achievements.

"We recognise and welcome the newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on taking the oath of office," Nauert said.

Relations between Pakistan and the US nosedived in January when President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of providing "safe haven" to the terrorists who kill American soldiers in Afghanistan while taking billions of dollars in aid from Washington.

 

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.