ISLAMABAD  -   Pakistan is hoping that the United States will release its financial aid amid improving ties between the uneasy allies, officials said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had asked the US not to make it a ‘one-way’ partnership.

One official said: “We have been helping their cause. We released Mullah Baradar and have been active for Afghan peace. We are trying to bring the Taliban on the talks table. The US also needs to do something in return. We have asked them (the US) to reconsider the decision (to cancel the aid).”

Another official said Pakistan had discussed the release of financial aid with the US through the diplomatic channels and there could be some development in the coming weeks. “The US is starting to acknowledge our efforts for Afghanistan peace. We should hope for the better,” he added.

Earlier, the US State Department said Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was on a visit to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirate and Qatar to push for peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.

A State Department statement said that Khalilzad will visit the region from November 8 to 20. “He will meet Afghan government officials and other interested parties to advance the goal of an intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that include the Taliban and lead to a sustainable peace,” it said.

This visit is an effort to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table with the Afghan government for peace talks. Khalilzad is accompanied by an inter-agency delegation on his trip. He will meet high-level officers and other stakeholders.

The dates for his visit to Pakistan have not been announced yet but he will head to the country during the 13-day tour where he will meet the civil and military leadership to find a peaceful solution for the Afghan conflict.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said there had been some visits to Pakistan by the US officials which was a positive development. “Khalilzad’s visit is also a positive step towards Afghanistan peace. Pakistan has always been supporting a negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue.”

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells just concluded her visit to Pakistan where she discussed the bilateral and regional issues with the Pakistan officials.

This year, the US confirmed it will cut $300 million in aid to Pakistan over its perceived failure to tackle militant groups. The so-called Coalition Support Fund was suspended earlier this year after Donald Trump tweeted that the US had received nothing but “lies and deceit” in return for $ 33 billion of financial support to Pakistan since 2002.

The Trump administration alleged Islamabad offered sanctuary to Taliban fighters waging a 17-year war in Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denied.