Imran Khan meets Donald Trump to reboot Pak-US ties

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a three-day visit to the United States, on Monday met President Donald Trump for a one-on-one meeting at the White House, sources said.

During his three-day visit to the United States, Imran Khan would be attending two sessions — a small group meeting, which will be followed by an extended meeting.

Sharing light on the matter, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “White House tour will give them more time to mingle and chat.”

The first meeting with be held in the Oval Office while the second meeting will be in the cabinet room.

Sources have said that not much is expected to come out of the meeting between Imran Khan and Donald Trump.

However, there are speculations that Donald Trump may not hold his discomfort with Pakistan and might share his concerns in a “blunt and strict” way.

Imran Khan went to the meeting after addressing a massive crowd in a community event in Washington’s Capital One Arena that took place on Sunday.

Thousands of Pakistanis, living in the United States and Canada, came in huge numbers to welcome Imran Khan, making it the biggest community meeting by any prime minister of the country.

Unlike previous leaders, I am not here to ask for any favours from the US president. Neither am I here to request for anything. I will talk to Donald Trump on bilateral terms. I will not embarrass you [Pakistanis] like previous leaders did,” Imran Khan said, addressing the event.

The Donald Trump administration, however, seems to be in a different mood.

Sources said that the Trump administration is going to focus on how Pakistan is dealing with terror groups operating from its soil.

It is also going to ask Pakistan to play a more effective role in engaging with the Afghan Taliban for negotiations with the US administration on Afghanistan Peace and Reconciliation Process.

Members of Congress have written a letter to Donald Trump, asking him to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

The letter also criticised Pakistan for taking the United States’ money as assistance, and highlighted that the “expected improvements have not occurred”.

Since 2001, the United States has given Pakistan more than $30 billion in various kinds of assistance. The aid was supposed to improve social and economic conditions in Pakistan, as well as promote good governance. The improvements have not occurred, the letter read.

The letter refers to the recent outbreak of HIV Aids in the Sindh province, in which, reckless negligence by using unsafe syringes and needles for blood transfusions, infected at least 681 people, who were tested positive for HIV in one month.

“Of these, 537 were children, including a tragic case of a 16-month-old little girl,” the letter stated.

The letter also attracts attention to the “ongoing human rights abuses” against Hindu and Christian minorities in the Sindh province.

Other injustices in Sindh province are deliberately carried out by the Pakistani state and its supporters. This is the case with forced conversions when young Hindu and Christian girls are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. Often, they are then married off to men decades their seniors,” the letter said.

The letter also slams the Pakistan government and its security agencies for being responsible for “terrorising people through enforced disappearances”.

“Hundreds of people in Sindh have been disappeared, including writers, students, activists and politicians who campaigned for human rights. Some of these individuals have ended up being dead, and their families have never received the justice they deserve,” read the letter.

The letter has been signed by at least 10 members of the Congress.

While on one side, Imran Khan may be looking for a healthy conversation based on mutual and bilateral interests, it is believed that the Trump administration will not put an easy hand on it and will demand action from Pakistan.

Sources also said that the US administration will be aiming to bring about a change in Pakistan’s behaviour towards terrorism.

As both Donald Trump and Imran Khan are known to be unpredictable in nature, the meeting between the two leaders can have a to-and-fro shift between good, bad and ugly.

After meeting Donald Trump, Imran Khan is also scheduled to see US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on July 23, 2019.

Imran Khan is also expected to address the US Institute of Peace, followed by lunch with some newspaper editors.

Later, he will have another meeting with the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate at Capital Hill, followed by an address to the bipartisan Pakistani American Caucus.

PM Imran Khan would also meet the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosai, before leaving for Pakistan on July 23, 2019.