Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan may have been given a diplomatic snub when he arrived in Washington on his first US trip to reboot bilateral ties that have seen a slump in recent months.
With his country in a financial crisis, Mr Khan made it a point to travel by a commercial flight, Qatar Airways, instead of a private jet, to cut down expenses.
When his flight touched down at Dulles airport, reportedly there was no high ranking US administration official to welcome him.
Later, Mr Khan took a metro ride to the Pakistani envoy’s house.
Commentators on social media speculated that Mr Khan had been snubbed by the US administration. One sensational claim said that that the Pakistani government had even offered to pay $250,000 to the State Department to arrange an official welcome the premier, but it was refused.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was at the airport to receive Mr Khan and also accompanied him on the metro ride.
Huge swarms of people have gathered at Washington Dulles Airport to welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan, due to arrive in minutes. People have also started gathering at Pakistan House & police, heavy security deployed have blocked the roads there. #PMIKVisitingUS#PMIKInUSApic.twitter.com/vfgUA31Qbe
— Waleed Parwez Choudhry (@WaleedPChoudhry) July 20, 2019
Acting Chief of Protocol, Mary-Kate Fisher, who had welcomed the Pakistan Prime Minister at the airport, accompanied him on the metro ride.
The State Department later said the Acting Chief of Protocol had received the visiting Prime Minister, “as is standard for an Official Working Visit to the White House”.
Imran Khan, who is staying at the official residence of the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, is to meet US President Donald Trump on July 22.
Mr Khan, who was greeted by members of the Pakistani expatriate community, later met with the Pakistani business community.
During his three-day visit, the Pakistani Prime Minister is also to meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) acting chief David Lipton and World Bank President David Malpass.
Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are accompanying Mr Khan to the US.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington has hired the services of top lobbying firm Holland & Knight to help advance the country’s interests in the US.
His visit comes as Pakistan has received a $6 billion bailout from the IMF despite concerns expressed by the US.
According to the White House, Mr Khan’s visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between Washington and Islamabad to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.
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Imran Khan Not Received By Any Top US Official At Airport – NDTV News