In a massive embarrassment for Pakistan, no officials from the United States were present to receive its Prime Minister ahead of his meeting with US President Trump in the country. A delegation from the US was absent as PM Imran Khan landed in the country in Qatar Airways flight. A welcome delegation from the US was conspicuous by its absence as Khan took the bus to the airport terminal at the IAD airport.
He was instead welcomed at the airport by his foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. A large number of Pakistani Americans were also present. The cricketer-turned-politician arrived is staying at the official residence of the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in the United States on Saturday afternoon for a three-day official trip. He is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, July 22, 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.Nawaz Sharif was the last Pakistani prime minister to visit the US on an official working 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. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will call on him on Tuesday.
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 his 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 to the US, 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 Donald Trump to help end "enforced disappearances in Pakistan. A bipartisan group of 10 influential American lawmakers Saturday asked US President Donald Trump to raise the issue of human rights abuses in the Sindh province in his meeting with the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister. Protests have been planned in front of the White House and Capitol Hill Arena by these groups over the next few days
(With PTI inputs)