King Abdullah concludes Pakistan visit

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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi received King Abdullah II at the Prime Minister's House. (Photo courtesy: Information Ministry)
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King Abdullah II reviews guard of honor at the Prime Minister's House. (Photo courtesy: Information Ministry)
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President Mamnoon Hussain received King Abdullah II, on Thursday, when he arrived to Pakistan after 11 years. (Photo courtesy: Information Ministry)
Updated 09 February 2018

King Abdullah concludes Pakistan visit

ISLAMABAD: King Abdullah II of Jordan completed his two-day visit to Pakistan on Friday.
During his visit, the king met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The leaders agreed to focus more intently on enhancing bilateral trade and investment relations between their two countries.
The current volume of that bilateral trade is $75 million, and the Pakistani leadership stressed to King Abdullah that they do not feel that figure fully reflects the “excellent brotherly relations” between their countries.
Abbasi discussed the success of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts and his country’s commitment toward regional peace and stability.
On Friday morning, hours before leaving Islamabad, King Abdullah also met President Mamnoon Hussain and agreed to hold a Pakistan-Jordan Joint Ministerial Commission next month.
President Hussain stressed that Pakistan and Jordan are connected through deep political, cultural and historical links and proposed that there should be a regular exchange of trade delegations between them.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Faisal, said in his weekly press briefing on Friday that the visit provided an opportunity to explore ways and means to further strengthen cooperation in diverse areas of mutual interest.
“The visit of His Majesty King Abdullah II has given a new impetus to the existing fraternal bonds between the two brotherly countries,” Faisal added.
Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, National Assembly member Ijaz ul Haq, Commander of the Northern Air Command Air Vice Marshal Sarfraz Khan, and Base Commander Air Commodore Mujahid Hussain were present to bid farewell to King Abdullah.

‘New beginning’: Khan brings hope of stronger ties with India

Updated 18 August 2018

‘New beginning’: Khan brings hope of stronger ties with India

  • Cautious optimism in India as Imran Khan becomes PM in Pakistan
  • Indian experts say stable government in Pakistan will determine the course of India-Pakistan relations

NEW DELHI: Indian foreign policy experts have expressed cautious optimism about an improvement in the country’s relationship with Pakistan following Imran Khan’s rise to power.

Former India ambassador to Pakistan TCA Raghavan said that if Pakistan’s new prime minister was able to provide stable government internally and address the nation’s numerous domestic issues, it “will create the basis for better relations with India.”

Raghavan, author of “The People Next Door: The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations,” said: “It’s difficult to make predictions about India-Pakistan relations at any time. But in my view the internal situation in Pakistan has a great role to play in determining the course of the relationship.”

Sudheendra Kulkarni, a peace activist and adviser to the former prime minister Atal Behari Vajppayee, described Khan’s leadership as a “new beginning for Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.”

“The past four years have been a wasted opportunity in taking the India-Pakistan relationship forward,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif was a leader with a thorough commitment to a better relationship with New Delhi, but the Narendra Modi regime could not sustain the initial hopes when it invited the leader of the Islamic republic to a swearing in ceremony in 2014.”

However, Kulkarni cautioned that “we should not expect marked improvement in relations in the next eight to nine months as India is going to have elections early next year.”

Professor Happymon Jacob, of the Center for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “I am positive about Imran Khan. If the Pakistan army and the political establishment are on board, and there is no difference between the two elites, then it becomes easier for India to navigate.

“Under Nawaz Sharif, both the elites were not on the same page regarding India. The present regime in Delhi will not reach out to Pakistan when elections in India are around the corner. If anything wrong goes so far as peace process is concerned, then it will have electoral ramifications. Any revival of peace talks will happen only after the elections.”

India’s leadership reached out to Khan after his election victory with the Ministry of External Affairs saying: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses hope that democracy will take deeper roots in Pakistan and reiterates his vision of peace and development in the entire neighborhood.”

In his victory speech, Khan also said that “Pakistan is ready to improve its ties with India.”

He said that his government hoped the leaders of the two nations can resolve all disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir, through talks.

“If they take one step toward us, we will take two,” he said.

Meanwhile, India cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, a guest at Khan’s swearing in on Saturday, has called for peace on the subcontinent.

“It’s in the interest of both countries that peace prevails. I have come to Pakistan despite all the criticism back home with a message of peace and friendship. We have the same culture, the same way of thinking and, therefore, it is important that we should have a strong bond.”