ISLAMABAD, June 10 (Xinhua) -- A team of senior U.S. officials are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on Friday for key talks at a time when a recent American drone strike in the sensitive Balochistan province has badly affected bilateral relations, officials said.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz warned on Thursday that the drone attack would have "long-lasting implications" for the relationship.
Pakistani officials believe that the U.S. strike that had killed the Afghan Taliban chief, Mullah Akhtar Mansour on May 21, has also undermined the diplomatic efforts for peace process in Afghanistan.
Official sources say that the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council Peter Lavoy are among the U.S. officials who will hold talks with senior Pakistani civil and military leaders.
Both sides will hold talks later on Friday, Sartaj Aziz said.
"Pakistan would record its protest over the drone strike in Balochistan during today's meeting with United States delegation," the adviser said ahead of the talks.
Pakistan believes that on one hand Washington seeks the country's role to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, but on the other it has itself killed already dim chances for the peace process.
Islamabad denies sheltering Taliban and insists that Pakistan hosts nearly 3 million Afghans, over million un-registered, and there would be possibility of some Taliban living among them.
Pakistan is also upset at what it believes "discriminatory policy" by Washington to deal Pakistan and India in respect of its quest for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
"In our interactions, we firmly conveyed to the USA that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence is critical for Pakistan's security and only Pakistan itself can determine how it should respond to the growing strategic and conventional imbalances in South Asia," Aziz told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday.
The 48-nation NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms.
India has never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.
However, the U.S. is silent on Pakistan's call for its NSG membership, which is seen as another major irritant in bilateral relations.
"We have been constantly reminding the United States to be mindful of maintaining a security balance for peace in the region," the Pakistani adviser said.