Imran Khan is visiting the US. He will be meeting US President Donald Trump on July 22.
Interestingly, the visit started off in a rather bizarre way. The Pakistani Prime Minister arrived not in a PIA (Pakistan’s official carrier) flight, but in a Qatar Airways commercial flight. Worse, there was no one from the US government to receive him at the airport. Nor was he provided any limousine from the plane to go to his hotel or place of stay, but had to take the airport bus to get to the airport terminal. Was the reason that Imran Khan did not use PIA that PIA is now not being allowed to fly to many airports? Is it still allowed to fly into Washington DC?
That could be one reason why he had to take the Qatar Airways flight.
Of course, the Pakistani trolls are making it sound as if this is a virtue.
But there is a question of protocol as well. How the Head of State is received in another country and how he goes through the visit. Which is what Tarek Fatah brought out in his tweet.
Worst thing is that twitterati is saying that Pakistanis tried to pay the US State Department $250,000 for proper protocol, but they declined!
Heck, that is some humiliation for Pakistani PM.
Highest profile team from Pakistan
Mind you, this is not just any visit. The PM is accompanied by Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Faiz Hameed, Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood. In terms of people going, this is the whole kitchen sink of the most powerful people in Pakistan. People who run Pakistan at this time!
The main agenda items on the meeting between Trump and Imran Khan are:
- Trump will seek the release of jailed Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped track down Osama Bin Laden
- Pakistan will try to discuss suspended $300 million in aid to Pakistan that Trump brought about last year
- Pakistan government’s action against terrorism and terror financing – which has landed it almost on the black list of FATF
Of course, to prepare for this meeting and visit, Pakistan has again done the drama of arresting Hafiz Saeed yet again.
But what is interesting is that just last week Trump had an Ahmediya come to the White House and describe the genocide that is happening in Pakistan. This was televised every where.
With the lobbying firm being brought in and the attempt to meet Trump to set things right, Pakistan is trying hard to reset its relationship with US without doing the necessary work at home to meet the new international scenario. This visit is unlikely, despite the usual Pakistani spin, to deliver much.
Featured Image of Imran Khan from Flickr: Imran Khan – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012