Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Washington on his three-day visit to the United States in the wee hours of Sunday, accompanied by COAS Bajwa, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood and Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.
This is PM Imran’s maiden visit to the US since assuming office in 2018. The trip was originally planned in June but was postponed because of the PM’s prior domestic engagements, including the federal budget.
Relations between Pakistan and the US remained strained since Trump took charge of the White House, and given the apparent tensions in relations and deepening trust deficit between the two countries, it was not possible to convince the American establishment for the Trump-Imran summit.
Back in November 2018, Trump sparked off a Twitter spat with the Pakistani prime minister, reiterating the allegations he had leveled in a Fox News interview.
Trump accused Pakistan of sheltering Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda founder who was taken out in a clandestine operation by US special forces in Abbottabad in 2011.
“Of course we should have captured Osama bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just before the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan billions of dollars and they never told us he was living there. Fools,” he said in another tweet.
The US president also accused Pakistan of “doing nothing” for the United States despite receiving “billions of dollars” in aid. He defended his administration’s move to cancel financial aid to Pakistan.
“We no longer pay Pakistan billions of dollars because they would take our money and do nothing for us. Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” the US president wrote on the social networking site.
“They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ending!”
Minutes after Trump’s tweets, Prime Minister Imran also took to the microblogging site to respond to the US president’s rant.
The premier wrote, “Trump’s false assertions add insult to the injury Pakistan has suffered in the US war on terror in terms of lives lost and destabilised and economic costs.”
“He [Trump] needs to be informed about historical facts. Pakistan has suffered enough fighting US’s war. Now we will do what is best for our people and our interests,” he added.
This was Imran’s fourth tweet for the day addressing Trump’s allegations made on Fox News, with the first three being a series of factual statements made by the prime minister.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold talks on cementing Pakistan-US relations in a range of areas, at the White House in Washington on Monday.
The talks will mark an effort by the two leaders to reset ties between the two countries.