ISLAMABAD -  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got a frosty welcome to Pakistan Tuesday after Washington turned up the heat on Islamabad.

America’s top diplomat was quietly greeted by a mid-level Foreign Office official and US Ambassador David Hale at the military airport in Rawalpindi, an AFP photographer saw - a welcome that, while marked with smiles, was devoid of the pomp that usually accompanies high-level visits.

He was then driven in a convoy of Land Cruisers amid tight security to the US embassy in Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave, before meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other top officials.

It was not clear how long the meeting lasted, but the secretary left Pakistan for India Tuesday evening, less than four hours after landing.

The visit was the first to nuclear-armed Pakistan by a senior Trump administration official and comes months after the US President angrily accused Islamabad of harbouring “agents of chaos” who could attack US-led NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

It follows on the heels of an unannounced stop in Afghanistan Monday, where Tillerson reiterated America’s commitment to the country and warned that Washington has made “very specific requests” of Pakistan over militancy.

The US-Pakistan relationship has waxed and waned dramatically since Trump took office in January. Pakistan said the President had praised its then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif as “terrific” in an effusive phone call when Trump took office in January.

But Trump’s blistering speech in August accusing Pakistan of harbouring militants saw Islamabad angrily hit back at the claims, insisting the US took no account of the thousands of lives lost and billions spent in fighting extremism.

Following the August speech, Tillerson cautioned Pakistan that it could lose its status as a privileged military ally if it continued providing support to Afghan militant groups.

As one of 16 “Non-NATO Major Allies”, Pakistan benefits from billions of dollars in aid and has access to advanced US military technology banned from other countries.

Political analyst Zahid Hussain said there may be little Islamabad can do at this point to convince the US it is acting in good faith. “The perception here is whatever they do, it is not going to please the Americans,” Hussain told AFP.

Earlier this month Pakistani forces acting on American intelligence said they had rescued a US-Canadian family held by the Taliban for five years, sparking hopes that ties would improve.

The rescue was followed by drone strikes on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border targeting long-time foes of both Washington and Islamabad.

Tillerson’s visit to Afghanistan set social media aflutter Tuesday after Afghan officials released a photo that had seemingly been doctored to disguise the fact that it took place at Bagram, a secure military base, rather than Kabul, which was hit by multiple militant attacks last week.

An image released by the State Department of the same meeting featured several details, including a clock and fire alarm, that had been removed from the Afghan image.