Doors now open for revival of US, Pakistan ties: Qureshi

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Observer Report

Washington

Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said United States President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan extended to him by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The foreign minister was addressing a press conference in Washington after three consecutive meetings between the senior leadership of both countries.
“During this tour, the thing that I find unique is that these people have seen the US [Pakistani] community’s closeness to this prime minister. You saw that there were thousands gathered in the Capital One arena.
“Even in this very room, we have seen extremely powerful prime ministers and presidents in the past having to address empty chairs.
“The point is, the people that came there and the love that they expressed — that was a message from overseas Pakistanis. I have never seen this kind of a show before.
“This was a very positive message and we are very happy with it,” Qureshi said.
According to Qureshi, the exchanges in all three sessions were frank and Pakistan’s delegation was able to deliver the message they had come with, “which was to present Pakistan’s point of view, as there had been a long gap [in discussions between the two sides] as an interaction of this level had not taken place in the past five years.
“For five years, the top leadership of the two countries had not met. Our country did not have a foreign minister and for five to six years we did not have any lobbyists appointed here — all of this led to a vacuum in the relationship between the two sides.” Qureshi said that in an effort to further revive the relations between the two countries, a meeting with the Pak-US caucus will be held. “The caucus, which has been dormant for a while, will be revived. I remember I had made a promise to this effect in this very room. I would like to mention Tahir Javed, who made tremendous efforts towards the caucus’s revival.
“I just met with Javed, and he let me know that the number [of people in the caucus] has gone up to nearly 80 now. I can assure you that in the recent past, no Pakistani leader has had the opportunity to have this much interaction [with the US leadership] as Prime Minister Imran has had. The point of all this interaction is to put forward Pakistan’s point of view. This is because the structure [of the US government] is federal in nature, so no matter what the Executive wishes, nothing can happen without the support of the legislature. “You also know that the [US] legislature has a high-level of ingress from India. This is evident if you look at their staff and their think tanks. Keeping this in mind, we will also try to increase our interaction over there.