Washington: With his country in financial disarray, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan made it a point to travel by a commercial flight, Qatar Airways instead of a private jet, to cut down on expenses.
When his flight touched down at Dulles airport, reportedly there was no high ranking US administration official to welcome him. Later, Khan took a metro ride to the Pakistani envoy’s house.
Social media went awry with speculations that Khan had been snubbed by the US administration, and that the Pakistani government had offered to pay USD 250,000 for the State Department to arrange an official welcome of the visiting Pakistani premier, but it was refused.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was at the airport to receive Khan and also accompanied him on the metro ride.
Acting Chief of Protocol, Mary-Kate Fisher, who had welcomed the Pakistan Prime Minister at the airport, accompanied him on the metro ride.
The State Department later stated that the Acting Chief of Protocol had received the visiting Prime Minister, “as is standard for an Official Working Visit to the White House”.
Imran Khan, who is staying at the official residence of the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan, is to meet US President Donald Trump on July 22.
Khan, who was warmly greeted by members of the Pakistani expatriate community in the United States, later met with the Pakistani business community.
During his three-day visit, Khan is also to meet IMF acting chief David Lipton and World Bank President David Malpass.
Even the Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are accompanying Khan to the US.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington has hired the services of top lobbying firm Holland & Knight to help advance the country’s interests in the US, reported IANS.
His visit comes as Pakistan has received a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite concerns expressed by the US.
According to the White House statement, Khan’s visit will focus on strengthening cooperation between Washington and Islamabad to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity to a region that has seen far too much conflict.