File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )
Khan's three-day visit to the US is a definite sign of the easing of the bitter relations between the two countries. Pakistan's Prime Minister will meet US President Donald Trump on July 22.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, earlier this week, described PM Imran Khan's visit to the United States as "a move from isolation to an invitation".
Khan and Trump have, however, met before on Twitter and indulged in a war of words.
"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump had tweeted earlier last year.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
The stand was reiterated in several interviews by the US President.
Eventually, Imran Khan - who had stormed to power on the back of the promise of 'Naya Pakistan' - was forced to hit back. In a series of tweets last year in November, he said, "Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump's tirade against Pakistan: 1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US war on terror. 2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost to the economy. US "aid" was a minuscule $20 billion."
Record needs to be put straight on Mr Trump's tirade against Pakistan: 1. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror. 2. Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US "aid" was a miniscule $20 bn.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2018
Pakistan's dwindling economy
To turn Pakistan's cash-strapped economy around, Imran Khan made state visits to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia in a bid to get investments.
But such is the debt trap which Pakistan is caught in, it has again, for the thirteenth time been forced to accept a $6 billion bailout by the IMF. To cut down on expenses, Imran Khan has embarked on an austerity drive.
He is, in fact, travelling to the United States this time round in a commercial flight and will stay at the Ambassador's residence.
Mission United States
Accompanied by his army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, Imran Khan's agenda on his US trip is primarily focused on resuming military training programs with the US, getting permission to purchase spare parts for F-16 jets, assistance from the US to get off the FATF greylist and getting more loans to boost Pakistan's dwindling economy.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers have written to US President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Pakistan's Sindh - including enforced disappearances - during his upcoming meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In a letter addressed to Trump on July 19, the lawmakers highlight that human rights abuses, at the hands of the authorities, continue to prevail in the Pakistani province, despite Washington having provided more than $30 billion in aid to the South Asian country.
The aid, according to them, was supposed to improve social and economic conditions in Pakistan, as well as promote good governance - improvements that have not occurred.