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July 12, 2019

Pakistani rulers have visited the US some 42 times since May 1950


July 12, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistani premiers, military dictators, elected and non-elected presidents, and governor generals have visited the United States some 42 times since May 3, 1950.

In May 1950, Liaquat Ali Khan had toured the United States, becoming the first Pakistani ruler to officially prefer America over the former Soviet Union. Therefore, when Prime Minister Imran Khan meets American President Donald Trump at the White House on July 22, this would be the 43rd visit of Pakistani leaders during the last 69 years to the United States, which has otherwise been hosting world leaders since 1874 when King Kalakaua of Hawaii had set sails for Washington DC to become the first-ever foreign head of government to strive for an enduring partnership with a country which was still very far from becoming a superpower. (Reference: Office of the Historian at the United States Department of State).

Of all the Pakistani rulers till date, Gen Pervez Musharraf has toured the United States most, having undertaken nine trips on November 10, 2001, February 12, 2002, September 12, 2002, June 23, 2003, September 24, 2003, September 21, 2004, October 3, 2004, September 20, 2006 and September 27, 2006. Following is the list of other Pakistani heads of government and state who have visited the United States:

Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad (November 13, 1953), Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra (October 14, 1954), Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suharwardy (June 13, 1957), President Ayub Khan (July 11, 1961, September 24, 1962 and December 14, 1965), President Yahya Khan (October 25, 1970), Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (September 18, 1973 and February 4, 1975), President Ziaul Haq (October 3, 1980, December 6, 1982 and October 23, 1985), Premier Muhammad Khan Junejo (July 15, 1986), Benazir Bhutto (June 5, 1989 and April 9, 1995), President Farooq Leghari (May 27, 1994), Premier Nawaz Sharif (September 22, 1997, September 21, 1998, December 1, 1998, July 4, 1999, October 20, 2013 and October 22, 2015), Premier Zafarullah Jamali (September 30, 2003), PM Shaukat Aziz (December 22, 2006), Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (July 27, 2008 and April 11, 2010), President Asif Ali Zardari (September 23, 2008, May 6, 2009, September 24, 2009, January 14, 2011 and May 21, 2012) and last but not the least former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had visited the United States on March 27, 2018, only to undergo a routine security check at a US airport, an ‘indignity’ that had enraged the Pakistani diaspora, media and the public back home. It goes without saying that when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was visiting the US, the Trump administration was considering imposing visa bans for the Pakistanis, besides contemplating to slap sanctions on the government in Islamabad. Bad time chosen!

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