Pakistan declines visit by U.S. envoy
updated 10:44 PM EST, Wed January 18, 2012
- U.S. envoy Marc Grossman wanted to go to Pakistan
- The Pakistanis said not at this time
- Things are tense between Pakistan's military and its civilian government
(CNN) -- Pakistan's government, embroiled in tensions between civilian and military leaders, has declined a visit from a U.S. envoy, a senior Pakistani government official told CNN.
It was unclear if U.S. Special Envoy Marc Grossman had a previously scheduled visit or if he was planning one, but regardless, Pakistan told him not to come at this time.
"His visit could fuel anti-American sentiments and create trouble for the government, which is already surrounded by storms," the official said Wednesday.
The official asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media on this subject.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner this week confirmed that Grossman wanted to go to Pakistan, but that the Pakistani government declined for the moment.
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Pakistan's president and prime minister met with military leaders in separate meetings this weekend in an attempt to defuse tensions.
The military and the government have been locked in a tense standoff after an alleged secret effort by the government last year to ward off a possible military coup by curbing the army's power with Washington's help.
The government denied the accusation, but the Supreme Court is investigating the scandal and its findings could threaten President Asif Ali Zardari and his ruling party.
A series of events have also added to the furor.
The U.S. killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a May raid on a compound located only about a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad enraged the Pakistani public and deeply embarrassed the military.
Relations became even more strained in November after NATO forces said they mistakenly killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in airstrikes near the Afghan border -- an attack the United States insists was an act of self-defense after its troops were fired upon.
Pakistan's government has formally disputed the findings of the U.S. investigation into the airstrike, saying the bombardment went on long after it reported its troops were under fire.
Journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.
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