Pak PM Imran Khan set to meet Donald Trump in New York

New York, September 23

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Donald Trump here on Monday, a day after the high-profile “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston in which the US president and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a stage and showered each other with praise.

Prime Minister Khan, who has declared himself an ambassador of Kashmiris, on Sunday briefed US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media on the repercussions of India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.

Khan is here on a week-long visit to attend the UN General Assembly beginning on Tuesday.

Trump and Imran last met in July at the White House. During their first one-on-one interaction, the US president had expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue — an offer India has rejected.

During Modi’s meeting with President Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France last month, the prime minister categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.

“All the issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral in nature, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” Modi said.

On his part, Trump said he and Modi spoke about Kashmir “at great length” during the G7 Summit and he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve it on their own.

His comments on Kashmir in the French city of Biarritz were seen as an apparent backtracking from his earlier comments, offering mediation.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India’s action evoked strong reactions from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian Ambassador.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.

New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.                              

Meanwhile, the US lawmakers who called on the prime minister on Sunday included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham.

Senator Graham was also among those four US senators who wrote a letter to President Trump last week, asking him to take immediate action to end deepening humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.

In addition to his meeting with Trump, Prime Minister Khan will address the UN Climate Change Summit and the Summit on Universal Health Care on the same day.

The premier is also expected to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as with China’s Vice President Wang Qishan, Dawn newspaper reported. — PTI