ISLAMABAD - Pakistan aims to win over the United States as the two countries try to remove misunderstandings and revive friendship, officials said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will try to convince US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Pakistan’s sincerity to eliminate terrorism.

Qureshi will leave for the US on September 22 to represent Pakistan at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. On the sidelines of the UNGA session, the Foreign Minister will hold meetings with Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov among others. There has been no word yet about his possible meeting with Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.

As the US keeps on doubting Pakistan’s sincerity, Islamabad is bidding to placate Washington by deciding to naturalize the Afghan refugees who were born in the country.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to grant Pakistani citizenship to thousands of Afghans born to refugee families.

PM Imran Khan said: “Afghans whose children have been raised and born in Pakistan will be granted citizenship because this is the established practice in countries around the world. You get an American passport if you are born in America.”

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had visited Kabul a day earlier to discuss Pak-Afghan ties and overall peace in the region with the Afghan leadership. He will brief Pompeo about his talks with the Afghan leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said Qureshi will share the details of his meetings with Afghan leaders with Pompeo. “The contacts with Afghanistan have been intensified on the demand of the US so it will definitely please them (the US). The two countries (Pakistan and the US) are trying to get closer again,” he added. Another official said Washington still had misunderstandings with Islamabad but efforts were on to overcome the differences. “We want to improve the ties with the US,” he said, referring to the preparations for Qureshi’s visit.

Last week however, foreign office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the joint US-India statement after high level talks in New Delhi against Pakistan was unacceptable.

Faisal said Pakistan takes exception to the statement of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in India. “We have taken strong exception to the unwarranted references against Pakistan in the recently issued Indo-US Joint Statement of 6 September 2018. Pakistan rejects these baseless allegations. Accordingly, we have conveyed our position to the US side,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, was of the view that mentioning of a third country with unsubstantiated accusations in a formal outcome document was inconsistent with the established diplomatic norms.

Faisal said: “We expect the US to focus similarly, if not more, on the Indian state terrorism and the resulting humanitarian emergency in Held Kashmir where Indian atrocities have intensified. Indian occupation forces continue to kill innocent Kashmiris with impunity.”

Yesterday, Pakistan reiterated to actively encourage, support and facilitate all efforts to launch a credible peace process in Afghanistan.

Speaking  in a debate on Afghanistan at UN Security Council, Pakistan' Permanent Representative Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had long advocated a political settlement to bring the long war there to a negotiated end.

She said that Afghanistan was the first country visited by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last weekend, which was a clear signal of the importance that the new government attached to its relations with Afghanistan and its commitment to promote peace and stability in that country. Ambassador Lodhi said that there are some signs that a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s protracted war may be possible.

Qureshi will also hold a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York. The two countries have been coming closer recently and have vowed to enhance partnership.

The foreign ministry believes regular high level exchanges between the two countries in the last few years were a manifestation of mutual desire of both sides for “translating political good will into a substantive and multidimensional partnership.”  Last year, President Vladimir Putin had offered to mediate between Islamabad and New Delhi to ease tension in South Asia. The move was welcomed by Islamabad but India refused to oblige.

Putin had refused to condemn the 2016 Uri attack and China also denied support India’s bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership. While China’s response was expected by Pakistan, Russia’s neutrality gave them the boost they wanted.