ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has completed the homework ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s much-awaited visit to the United States where he will meet President Donald Trump on July 22.

Since the last month, Pakistan has achieved some diplomatic goals that could be presented to Trump by PM Khan.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had prepared a good case to present to the US during Imran Khan’s visit.

“We have given good support (to the US) for the Afghan peace process, the ties with India have improved and trust level with the US is also much better than the past,” he counted.

Another official said the US had already acknowledged Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process. “We are on the same page with the US about the regional peace. We have tried to improve relations with India and Afghanistan. Relationship with Iran is also good,” he added.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who left for the US yesterday, said Pakistan was mindful of the US priorities.

The minister said Pakistan and the US must realise common objectives of peace and security in the region and bring prosperity to the people of South Asia.

Islamabad creates regional goodwill before much awaited trip

He said it was natural for Islamabad and Washington to work for broader engagement from Afghanistan to bilateral economic cooperation and trade cooperation to peace and stability in South Asia.

PM Khan will make his first official visit to Washington on July 22. The White House said Khan’s visit will focus on “strengthening cooperation between the United States and Pakistan to bring peace, stability, and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.”

The statement said the two leaders will “discuss a range of issues, including counterterrorism, defence, energy, and trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership between our two countries.”

The meeting comes as the Trump administration tries to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban to end the nearly 18 year-war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The US and Afghanistan have repeatedly accused Pakistan of providing “safe havens” for the Taliban on its soil. Trump has cut financial and military aid to the country as a result. Islamabad rejects the allegation. PM Khan, who was elected as last August, got into an argument with Trump over Twitter last year on the issue.

Yesterday, the Second Session of Pakistan-Iran Higher Border Commission was held in Islamabad. Pakistan delegation was led by Director General (Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, and Iranian delegation was headed by Director General of International Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abbas Bagherpour Ardekani.

The HBC is a mechanism for consultations between the two countries to discuss all border related issues for enhanced coordination at different levels. The first session of the Commission was held in Tehran on 17 July 2017. The Second Session today was held in follow up of the decision taken by the leadership of the two countries during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Iran in April this year.

“Pakistan and Iran enjoy brotherly relations which are deep rooted in historical, religious, cultural ties and strong people-to-people contacts. The two countries share more than 900 km long common border that is described as a border of peace and friendship,” said a foreign ministry statement.

During the session, the two sides held constructive discussions for effective implementation of existing border mechanisms within the relevant frameworks including Agreement for Administration of Pakistan-Iran border of 1960. They agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation in these areas.

“Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to expedite opening new border crossing points with mutual understanding. Both parties emphasized the necessity of updating border maps and border pillar descriptions and carrying out joint border surveys,” it said.

The two sides also shared the understating about their effective border management efforts through appropriate measures including physical installations such as fencing, it added.

The engagement with Iran is important as it comes days before the meeting between Imran Khan and Trump. The US-Iran ties are tense these days threatening peace in the region.

“We have covered the whole neighbourhood. Imran Khan will have good details to talk about with President Trump. We have created goodwill in the region. We are optimistic about the meeting,” said a close aide of the PM.

He said Pakistan will seek the US’ help for peace with India as New Delhi had repeatedly refused Pakistan’s offer for talks.