Washington: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday arrived in Washington for his three-day visit to meet President Donald Trump. According to Dawn, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Faiz Hameed, Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood are accompanying the prime minister. This is the first time the two top generals are accompanying a prime minister in the White House.
“And the moment that everyone has been waiting for is here; Prime Minister Khan lands in US for a 3-day official visit upon POTUS @realDonaldTrump’s invitation. Foreign Minister @SMQureshiPTI who is already in US receives PM Khan!,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf officially tweeted.
While Khan will hold talks with Trump on July 22, Qamar Javed Bajwa will meet defence Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, the new chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley and other senior officials during his visit to Pentagon.
Khan is expected to discuss Afghanistan and peace in the South Asian region during his upcoming meeting with Trump, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said on Friday. Khan will stay at the residence of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US.
In a bid to cut down on expenses, Khan travelled through Qatar Airways on a commercial flight. He also made a stopover at in Doha, where he was hosted by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
In a series of tweets, PTI on Friday outlined the Pakistani PM’s schedule and its expectations from his meeting with Donald Trump.
“Pak-US friendship has been a bumpy ride but a cordial friendship, nevertheless. PM Khan’s visit to US is rekindling that friendship again for mutual cooperation towards one goal: Peace & Stability in the region!” PTI tweeted.
“PM Khan’s visit will also highlight Pakistan’s policy of “peaceful neighbourhood” aimed at resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond,” Khan’s political party added.
“During his various engagements in Washington, the Prime Minister will outline his vision of “Naya Pakistan” and underscore the importance Pakistan attaches to a broader and multi-faceted relationship with the United States,” PTI stated.
“The whole world acknowledges the importance of Pakistan’s strategic location in the region. That is why it is imperative to let the world know of Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region. PM Khan’s visit to the US is also a step towards that greater goal!” PTI also tweeted on Friday.
The US-Pakistan relationship has been strained in recent times, especially after the US President struck down aid amounting to USD 1.3 billion to Pakistan last year. Washington had said that the aid would remain suspended until Islamabad takes steps against harbouring terrorists on its soil.
Following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack — the responsibility of which was claimed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed — the United States supported India in its fight against terrorism. Washington told Pakistan to immediately stop supporting terrorists and also introduced a resolution with UK and France to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council. Masood Azhar was blacklisted by the council on May 1 this year.
In what is largely being seen as a move to appease Washington before the Khan-Trump meeting, Pakistan also arrested LeT chief Hafiz Saeed this week, sending him to seven days in judicial custody.
India has dismissed this move, labelling it as nothing more than “drama” as Hafiz Saeed has been arrested on multiple occasions previously as well.
“The question is whether this time it would be more than a cosmetic exercise and whether Hafiz Saeed will be tried and sentenced for his terrorist activities,” said Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.