Why did Pak PM Imran Khan cancel his US trip ?


Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided not to visit the United States after the US President Joe Biden decided not to meet him, due to shortage of time

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided not to visit  the United States after the US President Joe Biden decided not to meet him, due to shortage of time. Earlier it was reported that Khan will be travelling to New York to address the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) on September 24. But according to the Pakistani sources the trip was cancelled as the meeting with the US President could not be fixed. Now Khan will be addressing the UNGA virtually.  Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be travelling to New York, and will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from a number of countries.

“No meeting between Foreign Minister Qureshi and US secretary of state Antony Blinken has been scheduled on the sidelines of the UNGA," Pakistani daily The Nation reported quoting the sources.

While Biden has no time for Imran Khan, he is hosting the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on September 24.

No wonder, Imran Khan is sulking. It has been almost nine months and Biden has not called Khan, despite his administration sending several  feelers to the Biden administration for a meeting.

Miffed,  Khan said during a press conference last month that the US has been treating Pakistan differently ever since it decided to “have a strategic partnership” with India.

“Pakistan is just considered only to be useful in the context of somehow settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of trying to find a military solution when there was not one,” Khan had ruefully told foreign journalists.

This was when the National Security Advisor of Pakistan Moeed Yusuf  was in the US and meeting top officials of the Biden administration,  lobbying for a Biden-Khan meeting.

“The president of the United States hasn’t spoken to the prime minister of such an important country who the US itself says is make-or-break in some cases, in some ways, in Afghanistan — we struggle to understand the signal, right?” Yusuf told The Financial Times in an interview, adding that ”we have been told that the phone call will happen, it’s technical reasons or whatever. But frankly, people don’t believe it,” Yusuf said. 

Also Read: With Joe Biden not dialling his number, impatient Imran Khan rushes top adviser to Washington

But even after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and complete withdrawal of the US, Khan did not get the much-awaited call from Biden. Last week, when asked by CNN why Biden still  hadn't called him, Khan said:  "He is a busy man". He added:

"I keep hearing that President Biden hasn't called me. It's his business. It's not like I am waiting for any phone call,” Khan added.

Imran Khan has many reasons to get “angry” with Biden. In April, Pakistan was ignored when Biden called 40 world leaders to participate in a virtual global climate summit. Many ministers of  Khan’s cabinet called the presidential decision a deliberate snub--a gesture to convey Pakistan’s lack of global importance.

“We (Pakistan) were like hired guns, we were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could." Khan told CNN.