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July 21, 2019

PM Khan departs for three-day visit to US

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July 21, 2019

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan departed from here on Saturday for three-day official visit to the United States on the invitation of US President Donald Trump.

Prime Minister Khan will meet President Trump at the White House tomorrow (Monday). There will be two sessions at the White House. President Trump will also host the Prime Minister and his delegation at a luncheon.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by his Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari and Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In Doha, the Qatar Airways Akbar Albaker chief executive called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday morning during his transit to Washington. The Prime Minister and his delegation opted to fly by a commercial flight to save public money. Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi is already in Washington, who will also be accompanying the Prime Minister during the visit.

This is Imran Khan’s first visit to the United States after assuming office of the Prime Minister. The visit would feature the first summit-level engagement between Pakistan and the United States since both leaders assumed their respective offices.

Besides Trump, the Prime Minister will also be meeting prominent members of the US Congress, corporate leaders and opinion makers, as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora. Prime Minister Khan is scheduled to address a gathering of the Pakistani community at a stadium in downtown of Washington DC. “The atmosphere we are witnessing this time was never seen in the past. The Pakistani community, the Pakistani-Americans are yearning to see and listen to Imran Khan and know the concept of Naya Pakistan and what message he has brought along to America,” Foreign Minister Qureshi told media at Capital One Arena where he arrived to review arrangements.

Qureshi said Pakistan would make a pitch for moving the ties away from 18-year long Afghan war to a place where the two sides focus on augmenting cooperation in wide-ranging mutually beneficial areas. “We want a reset in the relationship,” he explained to members of the media on Friday, while noting that the equation had moved from coercion to cooperation and from isolation to invitation.

The Prime Minister would speak to members of US Pakistan Business Council as well as encourage Pakistani-Americans to engage in business in Pakistan.

According to the Foreign Office, 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. In the regional perspective, Prime Minister Khan is expected to highlight his government’s commitment to pursuing a peaceful neighbourhood, including support for Afghan peace and the imperatives of better Pakistan-India relations, which saw a dangerous escalation this year in the disputed Kashmir territory.

But it would be Prime Minister Khan’s meeting with President Trump, who has invited him after praising Pakistan’s cooperation, that would receive major attention. Trump, who personally sought Khan’s support on Afghan peace search, recently said the US relations with the South Asian country are far better than what they were a year ago.

The two leaders had publicly exchanged differences through Twitter messages at the start of 2018 but by the end of the 2018 Islamabad and Washington started a positive diplomatic engagement on making Afghan peace process possible.

The Foreign Minister highlighted the two countries’ convergence of views on a political solution to the Afghan conflict. Pakistan has also recently taken concrete counter terrorism steps, and compliance with FATF requirements to choke terrorist funding.

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