Biden, who never bothered to call Imran, discusses issues with Pak envoy
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan held a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday during which the two briefly discussed enhancing ties between Islamabad and Washington, according to the Pakistani embassy in the US.
Relations between Islamabad and Washington— once allies who enjoyed close security and defense cooperation since the Cold War era— became strained when the Taliban seized Afghanistan in August 2021.
Ties between the two countries further took a hit over the last few months when former prime minister Imran Khan accused Washington of backing a campaign to oust him from the government in April. The US has vehemently denied the allegations.
The Pakistani embassy in the US said Khan visited the White House to meet and greet Biden for an official photograph, adding that it is an established tradition for newly appointed envoys in Washington D.C. to do so.
“During the ceremony, the US President and the Ambassador had a brief conversation on building a strong basis for moving the US-Pakistan ties forward,” the Pakistani embassy in the US said in a statement.
The embassy said 46 other ambassadors were also present on the occasion, adding that most of them had been unable to meet the US president for over a year due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Khan arrived in Washington on March 25 while on April 19, 2022, his credentials were formally accepted by Biden, the embassy said. “The official photograph completes all formalities,” it added.
Earlier this week, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome said Washington wants to “keep engaging across all levels of Pakistani society” and establish two-way communication with the country.
Pakistan envoy Masood Khan, President Biden discuss ‘building strong basis’ for taking ties forward
Ambassador Masood Khan, Islamabad’s ambassador in Washington, has met US President Joe Biden on his visit to the White House where the two discussed building a “strong basis for moving Pakistan-US ties forward”.
According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Embassy in the US, Khan visited the White House for a “meet and greet” and an official photograph with the US president — an established tradition for newly appointed envoys.
“During the ceremony, the US President and the ambassador had a brief conversation on building a strong basis for moving the US-Pakistan ties forward,” the statement said.
The US government follows a tradition whereby after the appointment of new ambassadors to Washington, a ceremony is held at the White House where new envoys present their credentials to the head of state conforming to their appointment.
Khan was sent to Washington on March 25, when the PTI government was still in power, but after former prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster on April 11, there was speculation that the change in Islamabad would also impact diplomatic appointments.
Later, Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, explained that incumbent ambassadors continue to represent the country in foreign capitals unless specifically asked by the new government to return home. Neither Ambassador Khan nor Ambassador Akram was asked to do so.
On his arrival in Washington earlier this week, Khan received a letter from the chief of protocol at the US State Department, endorsing his appointment as Pakistan’s ‘working ambassador’ in Washington.
Later, on April 19, he also received a letter from the US president’s office, formally confirming his appointment.
Meanwhile, the statement issued today said that forty-six other ambassadors were also present there for the official photograph with the President, which was taken one by one. “They too had not been able to call on the President for more than a year because of the Covid-19 restrictions,” it added.
Since President Biden’s age, 79, makes him particularly vulnerable to the virus, the White House tried to minimise the president’s contact with others. Diplomatic sources in Washington earlier told Dawn that Covid-19 had also hit the credentials ceremony.
Now, the White House processed all the documents and issues the necessary letters first and then invited an ambassador for the photo session.