ISLAMABAD -  Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif on Friday confirmed that US Defence Secretary James Mattis will visit Pakistan on December 3.

Speaking to journalists here, Asif said Mattis will meet the civil and military leadership to discuss the Pak-US relationship.

The visit comes after Pakistan and the US entered a new phase of confrontation following the release of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

The US defence secretary had visited India in September. The Pentagon later said that the US viewed India as a “valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia.”

Earlier, the US had designated India a ‘major defence partner’ and President Donald Trump pledged to boost military ties.

Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Pakistan and made it clear to the civil and military leadership that his country will not change its Afghan policy on Islamabad’s demand.

This came after President Trump threatened that military and other aid to Washington’s nuclear-armed ally was at stake if Pakistan did not clamp down on extremists.

However, Prime Minister Abbasi and Foreign Minister Asif held meetings with US leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September which helped improve the relationship. Asif visited Washington in October again for more meetings with Tillerson and other officials before the Secretary of State’s visit to Pakistan.

Asif said that Mattis’ visit will be a one-day affair during which defence ties between the uneasy allies will be discussed among other issues. He said that two important conferences would be held in Saudi Arabia and would be attended by senior government representatives.

Prime Minister Abbasi, Foreign Minister Asif and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa will visit Saudi Arabia for the conferences.

Officials said that the Saudi Arabia-led Islamic military alliance and Pak-Saudi relations would be discussed during the visit.

Although former army chief Raheel Sharif has been with the Saudi-led force for months, he was only officially appointed the commander this month.

Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed Bin Salman will chair the first meeting of the alliance’s upcoming council of defence ministers. The alliance was established in late 2014. It comprises 41 member-states, including Turkey, Pakistan Malaysia and Egypt, along with Arab Gulf states.

Iran has been pressing Pakistan to quit the alliance as it was designed against the Shia Muslims. Pakistan believes the alliance was aimed at fighting terrorism.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee was held here. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Shireen Mazari walked out of the meeting protesting against the government for not giving importance to the parliament.

She said that the government was signing international agreements without discussing the proposals in the parliament. She said that such important decisions were taken after approval of parliaments around the world in democratic systems.

Mazari said that “civil and the military bureaucracies do not want the parliament to oversee the foreign policy”.

The PTI leader said that the government signed the military agreement with Saudi Arabia without taking the parliament into confidence. “You can give whatever name to the Saudi alliance but it is a sectarian alliance against Iran,” she contended.