PM Imran Khan Meets President Trump Amid Improving US-Pakistan Ties

How much have US-Pakistan ties improved since President Trump's "lies and deceit" tweet on Pakistan? Has Trump completely abandoned the tough Pakistan policy recommended by the 2017 Husain Haqqani-Lisa Curtis paper? What do the US actions such as backing Pakistan's IMF bailout and BLA terror listing suggest?

What should be on top of Imran Khan's agenda when he meets President Trump at the White House on July 22, 2019? Economy? Investment? Trade? Energy? Security? FATF? IFI loans? How can the US best help Pakistan?

Why has the Trump administration changed its Pakistan policy? Does it have anything to do with Afghanistan? How is Pakistan supporting the US-Taliban peace dialogue? Why has US ignored the pro-India Kabul government to move forward with the Taliban? Why has the US agreed to include China and Russia in the efforts to end its war in Afghanistan?

Azad Labon Kay Sath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq.

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Views: 256

Comment by salim mastan on July 15, 2019 at 3:27pm
Pl organize a big meeting in a stadium for The PM
In DC or NYC or LA
Comment by Riaz Haq on July 18, 2019 at 9:10pm

#ImranKhan Mustn’t Let #Trump Make #Pakistan a Scapegoat. The sobering truth is that the #Taliban are under no one’s control. #Pakistan risks getting caught in the crosshairs of great-power politics again. Only deft #diplomacy will save it. #PTI

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepare to meet at the White House next week, U.S.-Pakistan ties hang in the balance. The U.S. agenda will clearly focus on countering terrorism. Equally important will be Pakistan’s key role in pushing the Afghan Taliban to reduce battlefield violence and engage in direct talks with the Kabul government, both of which are tough asks at this point. Beyond that, the politics of the visit will likely be boilerplate: Pakistan should do more to stabilize Afghanistan while also doing more to comply with global money laundering requirements and International Monetary Fund (IMF) benchmarks. If Trump is in a good mood, he may even invite Khan to dinner at the White House.

Behind the feel-good headlines associated with the visit, there are some structural realities Pakistan’s leaders must pay attention to. In American eyes, stabilizing Afghanistan is Pakistan’s only real trump card. Islamabad would prefer to have a broader relationship with Washington beyond being seen as a window into a changing Afghanistan. Yet, in international politics, hopes matter as little as intentions.

The peace talks that U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been conducting with the Afghan Taliban and other Afghans have gone a long way toward breaking down barriers. Still, too many members of the Afghan Taliban see violence as a means of boosting their negotiating power. The irony is not lost on anyone. Once upon a time, the United States wanted to fight and talk. Now the Taliban seem to be doing so.

For its part, Pakistan has been instrumental in making the talks happen and has belatedly received some muted recognition of its unprecedented efforts to facilitate these delicate negotiations. The U.S. government’s listing of the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army as a terrorist group is one of the tokens of that recognition, as was the IMF’s agreement to lend Pakistan a badly needed $6 billion.

So, while Pakistan will not return to being the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid, a positive development that will help end structural clientelism, it’s less clear where it will stand in the next few years in relation to the United States. Will the heavy lift in Afghanistan leave its mark? Will the facts on the ground matter? The short answer to those questions is, unfortunately, no.

Indeed, if future Afghan stability is made contingent on Pakistan’s alleged good behavior, then there is still a problem. In the past, even friendly U.S. administrations would demand an explanation from Pakistan every time Kabul or its hinterland was attacked. And it was asked, without fail.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 20, 2019 at 11:25am

Record number expected at Pakistan PM’s United States address

Washington, D.C.: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who begins a three-day visit to the United States of America on Sunday, is scheduled to address a record gathering of members of the Pakistani community at a stadium in downtown Washington, D.C.

The prime minister will address members of the Pakistani community at the Capital One Arena, which has a seating capacity of 20,000 persons.

Most of the seats have been booked already, with more people still registering to attend the event, officials said.

The prime minister’s community address is distinctive in this way because, previously, visiting Pakistani leaders used to address the expatriates in community halls or closed-door rooms at hotels.

The address is scheduled at around 4pm local time Sunday (12am Monday).

“The atmosphere we are witnessing this time was never seen in the past. The Pakistani community, the American Pakistanis are yearning to see and listen to Imran Khan and know the concept of Naya Pakistan and what message he has brought along to America,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told media at Capital One Arena where he arrived to review the arrangements.

He said the community was extremely excited over the activity as summit-level engagement was being held after a hiatus of five years.

“You have seen this arena. There is seating capacity of around 20,200. So far, above 19,000 people have registered themselves and some time is yet remaining for the event,” he said on Friday night terming the response as "encouraging".

“There is a unique excitement. There is an ambience of gala,” he said. He said he hoped that this would be the biggest gathering in the history of Pakistani activities held in America.

Around a million Pakistani-Americans reside in the US, which has also been a major source of remittances for Pakistan.

During fiscal year 2019, remittances from the US stood at $3.13 billion indicating significant growth over $2.7 billion of the past year.

Qureshi said during his visit to the US the prime minister would carry a message of a dignified Pakistan and, instead of seeking aid, would call for more trade.We want a reset in the relationship,” he explained to members of the media on Friday, while noting that the equation has moved from coercion to cooperation and from isolation to invitation.

The prime minister would speak to members of US Pakistan Business Council as well as encourage Pakistani-Americans to engage in business in Pakistan, where his government is reforming various sectors of the economy to make doing business easy.

According to Foreign Office, during his various engagements in Washington, the prime minister will outline his vision of “Naya Pakistan” and underscore the importance Pakistan attaches to a broader and multi-faceted relationship with the United States.

Imran is coming to present the case for Pakistan, Qureshi said.

Pakistan-US trade reached $6.62 billion (Dh24.3 billion) in 2018-19 — an all-time high. Pakistan’s major exports to the US included textiles and apparel, leather goods, surgical instruments, lamps, carpets, jewellery and plastics.

But the major focus is on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with President Trump at the White House on July 22, who has invited him after praising Pakistan’s cooperation.

There will be two sessions at the White House. President Trump will also host the prime minister and his delegation on a luncheon.

Besides Donald Trump, the prime minister would also interact with top American lawmakers including Speaker of the House of Representatives and members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan would make a pitch for moving the ties away from 18-year long Afghan war to a place where the two sides focus on augmenting cooperation in wide-ranging mutually beneficial areas.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 21, 2019 at 5:04pm

Video: 30,000 #Pakistani #Americans welcome PM #ImranKhan In #WashingtonDC

An estimated 30,000 people, mostly Pakistani-Americans, gathered at the filled-to-the-rafters Capital One Arena in Washington DC, to meet Pakistani PM Imran Khan. The stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000, though thousands more are seated in main playing arena.

The PM, a former international cricketer, received a rockstar's welcome as he appeared before the massive crowd, along with some members of his Cabinet. Imran Khan and his entourage flew to America on a commercial, instead of chartered, flight.

The Capital One Arena has 20,000 official seating capacity. Tweeps point out that there were thousands more seated in playing field. "You’re looking at the largest gathering of Pakistani Americans in history," according to a Pakistani-American at the scene.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Washing on his maiden trip to the US.

He will hold talks with Donald Trump and reboot bilateral ties that were hit after the president publicly criticised Islamabad, cancelled military aid and asked it to do more to fight terrorism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 24, 2019 at 7:24am

#US-#Pakistan ties a win for #China. US-Pak “reset” may ease pressure on Pakistan at #FATF, other international forums. Renewed #aid and #investment would improve stability in Pakistan and reduce Islamabad’s dependence on #Beijing. #Trump via @scmpnews

During his Oval Office meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, United States President Donald Trump characteristically abandoned the script and hailed the Pakistani leader as “great” and “tough”, even promising to help get the former cricketer re-elected. Clearly, the tortured, roller coaster US-Pakistan relationship is back on.
The new bilateral bargain seems to be this: if Islamabad can deliver Washington an honourable exit from Afghanistan that addresses its main counterterrorism concerns, the Trump administration will, in turn, restore military aid and take active steps to expand trade.
Against the backdrop of the intensifying US-China rivalry, Washington’s relationship with Islamabad is of particular consequence for Beijing, given the decades-long alliance between China and Pakistan.

On the whole, Beijing benefits from better relations between Islamabad and Washington. Chinese officials have regularly counselled their Pakistani counterparts to preserve ties with the US, even in the aftermath of the Osama bin Laden raid, which humiliated Pakistan. Deep mutual trust underpins the China-Pakistan relationship, so renewed communication between Islamabad and Washington is unlikely to make Beijing anxious – although China’s hand has been strengthened by their strained relations in the past.
Repeated suspensions of US military assistance have pushed Islamabad further into Beijing’s arms, driving the overall surge in Chinese weapons exports. From 2008-17, Pakistan was the No 1 buyer of Chinese arms sales, with its expenditure of about US$6 billion, accounting for 42 per cent of China’s total weapons sales.

More generally, China’s flexibility has allowed it to position itself as a less intrusive partner than the West. Its willingness to provide countries with infrastructure financing without requiring environmental standards and to sell arms without regard for human rights violations underpins its soft power.
In Pakistan specifically, China’s economic assistance, diplomatic support and military aid offers an alternative to the “unreliable” US, enabling Islamabad’s deterrence of arch-rival New Delhi and “strategic defiance” of Washington.
Reflecting Beijing’s role as geostrategic insurance or superpower ally of last resort, envoys from 37 states – including more than a dozen Muslim-majority countries – earlier this month signed a letter to the UN Human Rights Council endorsing China’s repressive policies targeting Uygurs in the Xinjiang region.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 25, 2019 at 9:33am

Imran Khan in Washington: He came, he saw, he conquered
Khan has energized Washington in ways not seen for more than a decade.

Michael Kugelman

What a three days it was for Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington.

He participated in multiple White House meetings, culminating in a one-on-one exchange with President Donald Trump. He hobnobbed with senior congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. He networked with corporate bigwigs. He addressed an audience at a top Washington think tank. He gave interviews to America’s largest media outlets. And, of course, he headlined a jalsa before a beyond-capacity crowd that pulsated with his every word.

However, if we judge the visit by the metric of public diplomacy, and how Khan was received and perceived by his hosts, then the visit was wildly successful. And given how Pakistan’s image abroad has suffered for so long — especially in Washington — one can chalk up the great optics and good vibes to emerge from the visit as a strategic success as well


To be sure, some caveats are in order.

First, Khan’s time in Washington was not flawless. His insistence that there are no restrictions on press freedoms in Pakistan — and more broadly his unwillingness to acknowledge the well-documented crackdowns on dissent in his country — was not a good look, to say the least.

Second, some of the warm treatment and kind words directed at Khan may have been by design: A charm offensive meant to showcase to Khan what may await Pakistan — a deeper partnership, and the broader cooperation and new forms of assistance that such a partnership entails — if Islamabad is able to make more progress on the counter-terrorism and Afghan reconciliation fronts.

It’s also important to think about historical precedent. In November 2016, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called Trump to congratulate him on his election victory. Trump responded with bizarrely lavish praise, calling Sharif a “terrific guy” with a “very good reputation” and declaring that “Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people.” Then, once he took office, he started talking tough on Pakistan, and the relationship took a big plunge.

There’s a broader point to be made here: Khan’s public diplomacy success in Washington doesn’t mean bilateral ties will magically morph from a dysfunctional relationship to a match made in heaven. There are too many fundamental tensions and policy divergences — over India, China and terrorism, just to name three — to expect US-Pakistan relations to enjoy a renaissance. Additionally, if the White House decides, several months down the road, that Pakistan isn’t making sufficient progress on the Afghanistan and counter-terrorism fronts, all bets could be off.

Still, none of this is to take away from what Khan achieved in America. While his immediate predecessors may have had similar meetings in similar places during their Washington sojourns, Khan did it while exuding more charisma and confidence — and drawing more emphatic praise from American leaders. His celebrity status certainly helped his public relations cause. So did the fact that his visit was accompanied by surprisingly few anti-government protesters.

The bottom line? Khan’s pleasant and well-received visit offered a much-needed breath of fresh air for a relationship so often characterised by toxicity.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 26, 2019 at 7:39pm

Just days after #ImranKhanPrimeMinister's meeting with President #Trump, US Approves Military Sales Worth $125 Million to Support #Pakistan's F-16 Fighter Jets. #PTI 

Days after the meeting between President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Pentagon notified the Congress on Friday of its decision to approve military sales worth USD 125 million that would result in 24x7 end-use monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan.

US officials asserted that the freeze in security assistance to Pakistan on Trump's direction since January 2018 was still in place and the latest decision would help it in 24x7 end-use monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets in that country as this would require the assignment of 60 contractor representatives there to assist in the oversight of the F-16 programme.

"There has been no change to the security assistance suspension announced by the president in January 2018. As the president reiterated this week, we could consider the restoration of certain security assistance programmes consistent with the broader tenor of our relationship," a state department spokesperson told PTI.

He referred to the notification sent in this regard by the Pentagon to the Congress on Friday.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by protecting American technology through the continued presence of US personnel that provide 24x7 end-use monitoring," he said.

"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for Technical Security Team (TST) in continued support of the F-16 program for an estimated cost of USD 125 million," the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

The Pentagon delivered the required certification notifying the Congress of this possible sale on Friday.

According to the statement, Pakistan had requested a continuation of technical support services -- US government and contractor technical and logistics support services -- and other related elements of logistics support to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive advanced F-16 programme.

Pakistan has used the F-16 fighter jets against India, the latest being in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike inside Pakistan by India.

In its notification, the Pentagon asserted that the proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

"Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 60 contractor representatives to Pakistan to assist in the oversight of operations as part of the Peace Drive F-16 program," the statement said.

According to F-16.Net, the aircraft order by Pakistan was designated as "Peace Drive I", continuing with a long tradition of naming the F-16 international sales programmes with the word "Peace".

The programme raised the total number of F-16s ordered by Pakistan to 54. The Pakistan Air Force received its first F-16, in the block 15 F-16A/B configuration, in 1982. The country has been operating the Lockheed Martin aircraft since 1963, when it received C-130B airlifters.

The "Peace Drive I" order was for 12 F-16Cs and six F-16Ds, all powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 1, 2020 at 4:58pm

Linden Powers #Pakistan's PR in #US. 6-month contract with the #Houston-based firm went into effect April 15 and automatically renews for another 6 months. It's come after #Trump admin's decision to sell $155M in anti-ship missiles to #India. via @odwyerpr

Linden Government Solutions has inked a pact to provide strategic consulting services to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The six-month contract of the Houston-based firm went into effect April 15 and automatically renews for another six months upon mutual agreement by both parties.

Pakistan and US ties are strained over the Trump administration's plan to sell $155M in anti-ship missiles to India.

On April 17, Pakistan called the sale of missiles to its archrival "disturbing" and a move that would "destabilize" the region.

The arms deal follows Trump's high-profile 36-hour state visit to India in February in which he was feted by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

Linden president Stephen Payne, who has close ties with the Republican party, is leading the Pakistan account. He was a presidential advance man for George W. Bush and traveled with former VP Dick Cheney.

In 2019, Linden picked up a $2.1M contract with The Libyan National Army rebel group, which is headed by 75-year-old US citizen Khalifa Haftar.

That pact is with the Benghazi-based Decision Support Center, which says its goal is to achieve stability and democracy in war-torn Libya.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 22, 2020 at 7:48am

#UnitedStates to Upgrade F-16 Fighter Jets of #Pakistan with precision advanced target pods (ATP). An indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Pakistani F-16s has been awarded to Lockheed Martin. #PAF #F16 #ATP

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST), and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed wing) hardware production are part of the contract.

On its website, the US DOD confirmed the development stating, “This contract provides the necessary resources required for the management, fabrication, upgrade/retrofit, integration support and testing and shipping of its non-developmental item (NDI) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System, NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades, and the NDI IRST system as it relates to the requirements document associated with each specific delivery order placed under this contract.”

In Orlando, Florida the work on the production will begin. It will be completed by May 2025. The FMS is basically for the US allies that include Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.


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