Imran seeks Trump’s mediation on Kashmir issue in Davos meeting

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again expressed his desire for mediation by the United States on the Kashmir issue between the two hostile South Asian neighbours – Pakistan and India.
“The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to play its part in de-escalating the tensions, because no other country can,” he said at the start of his meeting with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
This is the third meeting of the two leaders in less than a year amid reports that the US and Afghan Taliban are close to striking a peace deal after over yearlong painstaking process.
The premier is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, and Special Assistants to PM Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari and Dr Moeed Yusuf in the Swiss city.
Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Ambassador at Large for Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui will also join the prime minister in Davos.
Calling PM Imran his “friend”, Trump expressed his pleasure over meeting him once more.
“We’re talking about Kashmir … if we can help, we certainly will be helping. We’ve been watching that and following it very, very closely,” said the US president.
The premier welcomed the goodwill gesture, saying: “Mr President, it is good to see you again. Yes, there are issues we want to talk about. The main issue is Afghanistan because it concerns the US and Pakistan”.
He added: “Fortunately we are on the same page. Both of us are interested in peace there and an orderly transition in Afghanistan with talks with Taliban and the government”.
When asked whether he will also visit Pakistan when he makes a trip to India, President Trump avoided a clear response, saying: “Well, we are meeting right now. I wanted to say hello”.
“I would say we’ve never been closer than we are right now,” he said, adding the two sides will discuss trade, but also the border issues, Kashmir, and India.
On August 5 last year, India had stripped Occupied Kashmir of the special autonomy it had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order.
Kashmiris see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
Pakistan had strongly condemned the move and vowed to “exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps” taken by New Delhi.
Agencies add: Earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan has on Tuesday departed for Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 21 to 23 January 2020, at the invitation of Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari and Special Assistant National Security Division Mooed Yusuf are accompanying the Prime Minister.
Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Ambassador at large for Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui will also join the Prime Minister at Davos.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Forum. In keeping with the significance of this milestone, political leaders, business executives, heads of international organizations and civil society representatives will deliberate on contemporary economic, geopolitical, social and environmental issues.
Two key highlights of the visit include the Prime Minister’s “Keynote Address” at the WEF Special Session, and his interaction at the “Pakistan Strategy Dialogue” with CEOs and corporate leaders.
On the sidelines, the Prime Minister will hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders. Several meetings are also scheduled with a wide range of corporate, business, technology and finance executives, and representatives of international financial institutions.
The Prime Minister will also speak to senior international media persons and editors during a session with the Forum’s International Media Council. The Prime Minister will also give interviews to major international media outlets.
Throughout his engagements at Davos, the Prime Minister will share Pakistan’s vision and achievements in the areas of economy, peace & stability, trade, business and investment opportunities.
Imran Khan will also highlight the current situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan’s perspective on key regional and international issues.