x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Zardari: Pakistan loses best friend

Pakistan's political leaders have described Mr Holbrooke's death as "a great loss".

ISLAMABAD // Pakistan's political leaders have described  Mr Holbrooke's death as "a great loss".

"Pakistan has been deprived of a best friend," said Asif Ali Zardari, the president, in a statement.

Mr Holbrooke had instrumental in improving relations with Pakistan since 2009.

He worked tirelessly to persuade sceptical officials in Pakistan that the US was seeking a long term relationship, rather than a "transactional" one that would end with the departure of US forces from Afghanistan.

His lobbying of the US Congress helped secure in November 2009 a five-year, $7.5 billion civilian aid package.

That led to the establishment of regular "strategic dialogue" early this year.