WASHINGTON: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived here Saturday afternoon on a three-day official trip to the US.
Khan, 66, is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House Monday during which the American leadership will press him to take “decisive and irreversible” actions against terrorist and militant groups operating from Pakistani soil and facilitate peace talks with the Taliban.
The cricketer-turned-politician arrived here aboard a commercial Qatar Airways flight and is staying at the official residence of the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan.
He was welcomed at the airport by his foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. A large number of Pakistani Americans also welcomed him.
Nawaz Sharif was the last Pakistani prime minister to visit the US on an official trip in October 2015.
During his stay in Washington DC, Khan, in addition to his meeting with Trump, is also scheduled to meet IMF acting chief David Lipton and World Bank President David Malpass.
He is scheduled to address a gathering of thousands of Pakistani Americans at capitol One Arena in downtown Washington DC on Sunday, July 21, and speak at the US Institute of Peace think-tank on July 23.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will call on him on Tuesday.
Trump, in addition to a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office, will host the visiting delegation over a working lunch at the White House on Monday. Khan is also scheduled to meet lawmakers at the US Capitol Hill.
Before becoming the prime minister, Khan used to visit the US regularly and has a sizeable support base among the Pakistani diaspora.
This is after several decades that a visiting Pakistani leader has been welcomed by members of the Pakistani diaspora in such a large number.
Meanwhile, hours before Khan’s arrival, Pakistan hired the services of lobbying firm Holland & Knight. The memorandum of understanding on this was signed between former Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds and Pakistani Ambassador Majeed Khan.
Reynolds will lead a team comprising other former members of Congress, former senior Administration officials, Capitol Hill veterans and other professional experts to lobby in the US on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. The Embassy had no lobbyist during the past six years.
Khan’s visit to the US is also marked by protests by several ethnic and religious minorities of Pakistan, including Baloch, Sindhis and Mohajirs.
The Baloch groups Saturday started a mobile billboard campaign in America’s national capital urging President Trump to help end “enforced disappearances” in Pakistan.
A bipartisan group of 10 influential American lawmakers asked President Trump to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Pakistan’s Sindh province in his meeting with Khan.
Protests have been planned in front of the White House and Capitol Hill Arena by these groups over the next few days.
Source: Economic Times