English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

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

The Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is deeply perturbed as the US President Joe Biden has not called him yet (Pic: Courtesy mcezone.com)

It has been a long wait for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to receive a phone call from the US president Joe Biden. Biden took charge of the US presidency in January this year and since then Imran Khan has been waiting for his phone to ring. Khan’s problem is that Biden has been talking to his neighbours–  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. 

Exasperated, Khan finally  “dispatched” his National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf and chief of the ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to Washington. Yusuf went into a sulk complaining to  his American counterpart Jake Sullivan about Biden’s “failure” to contact Prime Minister Imran Khan, especially as Washington sought help to stop the Taliban taking over.

“We’ve been told every time that . . . [the phone call] will happen, it’s technical reasons or whatever. But frankly, people don’t believe it,” Yusuf told the Financial Times.

The Pakistani NSA told FT  in an interview that Pakistani Prime Minister has been trying to call Biden to discuss the development in Afghanistan urgently, but so far, has not been able to talk to him.

“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 daily. He added or threatened, take your pick, when he ominously added that Pakistan has other “options” if President Biden kept ignoring “calls” from the Pakistani PM.

Also Read: Afghan President Ghani scolds Pak PM Imran Khan in public for supporting Taliban

“If a phone call is a concession, if a security relationship is a concession, Pakistan has options,” but Pakistani NSA Yusuf refused to elaborate about “other options”.

The Biden administration, however,  played down these “complaints.”

“There are still a number of world leaders President Biden has not been able to speak with personally yet. He looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Khan when the time is right,” said the daily citing the officials.

Some analysts told the paper that one possible reason for not “ignoring” could be that Imran Khan is seen as a “puppet” of the Pakistani military establishment.

“There is no question of a civil-military disconnect in Pakistan. Let me be categorical: if the Prime Minister had not instructed me and the delegation to be here, we won’t have been here,”  Yusuf asserted.

Last month in an interview Khan, in response to a question, said that President Biden “can call him whenever he has time”. But when  the “elusive” call got longer, the Pakistani PM  told the PBS, that the United States "really messed it up in Afghanistan.”

According to Pakistani journalists, Biden's snub could be due to the perception of Pakistan's proximity to “iron brother” China  and the Taliban, which could jeopardize the US interests in Afghanistan. It is believed that President Biden, who also served during former President Obama’s tenure as the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, wants an unbiased review of Pakistan before engaging with the Pakistani government.

Interestingly, prior to  Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to the US, the Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had warned him not to accuse Pakistan for Afghanistan’s situation.

In the last few months there has been a war of words between Afghan president Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Khan. Last month in an  international conference at Tashkent, Ghani accused the former cricketer  and the Pakistani army of supporting the Taliban. Khan was of course nonplussed by Ghani’s ton-of-bricks tirade. Cornered from many sides, Khan’s  agonising and now embarrassing wait for the chimeric phone call from the White House remains.