PM Khan, President Trump to meet in New York today

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to meet US President Donald Trump today in New York City ahead of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly kick-starting on September 24.

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The meeting — expected to take place at 10pm and reported to be the first of two between the leaders during the UN session — comes post a “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston on Sunday in which the US president and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a stage and showered each other with praise.

Trump and Khan last met in July at the Oval office. During their first one-on-one interaction, the US president had expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the 70-year-old Kashmir dispute — an offer he has repeated but has been rejected by India.

Tensions between India and Pakistan mounted on August 5, when New Delhi unilaterally annexed occupied Kashmir, repealing a constitutional guarantee that gave a special status to the disputed territory. A strict lockdown and communications blackout was imposed in the region that has stripped off ordinary people’s internet and mobile telephone service across much of occupied Kashmir. It has now entered its 50th day.

President Trump’s recent comments on Kashmir and India-Pakistan relations have triggered speculations about an indirect dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours during the UNGA, with Washington playing the role of a facilitator.

Premier Khan, who has declared himself an ambassador of Kashmiris, spent the second day of his seven-day visit to the United Nations apprising US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media on the repercussions of the Indian annexation of the disputed Kashmir valley.

PM Khan is due to address the UN General Assembly on September 27. He has already announced that he will call attention to the Kashmir issue in his address, exposing the ethical and legal bankruptcy of India’s annexation of the occupied valley.

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