Pakistan’s new ambassador to US, Dr Asad Majeed, has reached Washington yesterday with a focus on an early meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Trump as his priority.
He is said to be taking charge of the effort to renew once close relationship between the United States and Pakistan. On Jan 2, US President Donald Trump expressed his desire to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan for talks on US-led efforts to jump-start the Afghan peace process. “I look forward to meeting the folks from the new leadership in Pakistan [and] we will be doing that in not-too-distant future,” he said.
This week, reports in the US, Pakistani and Indian media claimed that both Washington and Islamabad are exploring the possibility of bringing Mr Khan to Washington for a White House meeting with President Trump.
Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, say that such a meeting can only materialise if there’s a tangible progress in US-Taliban talks.
The two sides have already held several meetings but the next round, scheduled in Saudi Arabia later this month, is still being finalised.
Ambassador Majeed, who was Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Washington till 2015, is expected to focus on this proposal as a trade partnership would be more durable.
Also important for him is to revive Pakistanis lobbies on the Hill that once played an effective role in promoting bilateral ties but have become ineffective due to internal disputes and lack of interest. Ambassador Siddiqui did make some efforts to revive this tradition but he could only do so much in his brief tenure.
The new envoy’s efforts to re-engage with the Pakistani-American community will be restricted by a US ban that prohibits Pakistani diplomats from travelling outside of a 25-mile radius around Washington without approval.