Acknowledging the “strain” in United States-Pakistan relationship, a top U.S. intelligence official has said that the internal situation in Pakistan is “fraught” and will take some time to get back to normalcy.

“The relationship (with Pakistan) is very important, but the relationship right now is also quite strained,” (Gen.) David Petraeus, the CIA Director, told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing, responding to a question on the U.S.-Pak relationship.

The most recent cause of that, of course, is the November 26 border incident between ISAF and Pakistani forces, he said.

There is an awareness in Pakistan as well that this is a critically important relationship, that there are areas of considerable mutual concern, mutual objectives, while there are also ones in which there are diverging interests, Gen. Petraeus said.

“The activities right now are also complicated, though, because of the difficulties in the domestic context there, where there’s a bit of tension between the Supreme Court, between the army chief and the ISI director and the government, the president and the Prime Minister. That may be calming a bit. There have been signs of that in recent days,” he said.

“It’s worth noting, by the way, that the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, (Husain) Haqqani, was allowed to leave, and he did arrive in the UAE this morning,” he said.

“Nonetheless, the situation, I think as our British colleagues might say, is fraught, and it is going to take some time. It’s going to take a lot of diplomacy, engagement and so forth to move forward in a relationship that’s important to both our countries,” he said.

“I should note that —— as a general comment —— we believe the relationship between the intelligence services is generally still productive.

“There is certainly good communication going back and forth, and there have been some important —— again, pursuit of important mutual objectives between the two services,” said Petraeus.

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