indica News Bureau-
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet with President Donald Trump on Monday, July 22 at the White House in the premier’s first official visit to the U.S. where the leaders will discuss counterterrorism, defense, energy and trade in a meeting that is leaving many hopeful that the two nations can patch up frayed relations.
“The visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between the United States and Pakistan to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict,” the White House said in a statement.
Last year Trump suspended US$300 million in aid to Pakistan, citing what the U.S. has said is Pakistan’s failure to crack down on militancy inside the South Asian nation. Trump and Khan traded barbs on twitter following the announcement.
During Monday’s meeting, Congressional leadership will likely press Khan to take “decisive and irreversible” actions against terrorist and militant groups operating from Pakistani soil and to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban, according to published reports.
On his three-day visit, Khan is also scheduled to meet with the IMF acting chief David Lipton, World Bank President David Malpass and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.
In addition, Khan will be addressing a community gathering of Pakistani Americans at Capitol One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., on Sunday, July 21, and on July 23 he will speak at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Meanwhile, for the first time, a bipartisan group of 10 influential American lawmakers has written a letter to Trump raising the issue of Sindh, the Pakistan province previously a part of pre-partition British India which has seen serious deterioration in human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities.
“We are writing to urge you to raise the issue of human rights abuses in Sindh Province with Prime Minister Imran Khan when you meet with him on July 22, 2019,” said the Congressional letter, written by 10 members of the US House of Representatives, to Trump on Saturday.
Signatories to the letter to Trump include Congress members Brad Sherman, Ann Wagner, Adam B Schiff, Schakowsky, Eleanor H Norton, Carolyn B Maloney, David E Price, Juan Vargas, David Schweikert, and Dan Crenshaw.
“Since 2001, the United States has given Pakistan more than US$30 billion in various kinds of assistance. This aid was supposed to improve social and economic conditions in Pakistan, as well as promote good governance. These improvements have not occurred,” the Congress members said, according to a copy of the letter as released to the media on the eve of the arrival of Khan in Washington.
This is the first time that ten members of Congress wrote a letter to the U.S. president on Sindh issues. Democrat, as well as Republican members of Congress, have signed the letter. Maqbool Halepota, president of Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) in a statement emphasized on the importance of raising issues faced by Sindhis in Pakistan on a global level.
Noting that it is also the first time that Pakistani military, intelligence, and civil leadership are visiting the U.S. together, SAPAC said it wanted to make sure Sindhi issues are not ignored in those high-level meetings between Pakistan and United States.
The Congress members alleged that the Pakistani government terrorizes Sindh Province through enforced disappearances. Hundreds of people in Sindh have disappeared, they alleged.
“As you seek to change Pakistani behavior on issues like terrorism, it is essential that you also push the Pakistani government to improve the lives of its citizens,” the Congress members wrote.
“For this reason, we urge you to bring up these issues in your conversation with Prime Minister Khan,” wrote the American lawmakers.