Imran Khan's Historic Washington Rally: The Largest Ever For a Visiting Foreign Leader
|Prime Minister Imran Khan Addressing 30,000 Pakistani-Americans at Capital One Arena in Washington DC|
Coming a day prior to the prime minister's official meetings with President Donald Trump and the US Congressional leaders, the 30,000 cheering supporters at Capital One Arena boosted the confidence and the legitimacy of the Pakistani leader in the eyes of the US government leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It also put on full display the increasing numbers and the growing clout of the Pakistani-American in their adopted home.
|Asians in America. Source: National Geographic|
There are over half a million Pakistani-Americans and nearly 4 million Indian-Americans in the United States, a ratio of one-to-eight. However, enthusiastic Pakistani-Americans managed to pull off a bigger rally for their leader than the Indian-Americans did for their Prime Minister back in 2018.
|Prime Minister Imran Khan with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office|
Imran Khan Meets President Trump:
On July 22, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly welcomed by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania who tweeted her pictures with visiting leader. Prime Minister Imran Khan reminded the President that he has always believed that there is no military solution to Afghanistan. The only way to end America's longest war is through a political process involving negotiations with the Taliban.
|Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and other Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan|
Speaking with the media in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, President Trump said: "It's my honor to have the very popular and great athlete, the Prime Minister of Pakistan at White House". The President added that Pakistan was helping the US to "extricate" US troops from Afghanistan, through political negotiations.
President Trump offered to mediate in the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir. He said that he was making the offer after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that he "mediate or arbitrate" in the long running dispute between two South Asian neighbors."If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If I can do anything on that let me know."
|Prime Minister Imran Khan with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill|
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill:
US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. She said US-Pakistan relations are "important" and thanked Pakistan for the "beautiful gift" of Pakistani Americans that she said the country had given to the US. She was joined by a large number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The United States House of Representatives passed resolution H. RES 506 "welcoming the inaugural visit to the United States of the 22d Prime Minister of Pakistan and continuing support and commitment to the long and enduring friendship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".
The House Resolution acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."
|PM Imran Khan Signing "Dil Dil Pakistan" Cricket Bat For Congressman Swalwell|
Many congressmen with large numbers of Pakistani-American voters were particularly eager to have their pictures taken with Prime Minister Imran Khan. San Francisco Bay Area Rep Eric Swalwell tweeted: "Representing one of the largest Pakistani-American congressional districts in the country, it was an honor to welcome #Pakistan PM @ImranKhanPTI to #America. A former cricket star, he was kind enough to sign a bat I bought in #Islamabad."
|Silicon Valley Rep Ro Khanna and Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan|
Another Congressman, Rep Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley, tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."
Imran Khan at USIP:
Prime Minister Imran Khan was a guest at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a Washington DC think tank funded by the US government. He was interviewed by USIP President Nancy Lindborg in front of a live audience. In response to a question, the Prime Minister called for “a relationship as equals, of friendship,” rather than, “as it has been before,” with Pakistan “wanting aid from the U.S. and then for aid Pakistan is expected to do certain things. The reason why I'm happy leaving the U.S. this time because we have a relationship now based on a mutual interest, which is peace in Afghanistan.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan's successful historic visit to the United States has brought into sharp focus the increasing numbers and growing clout of the half a million strong Pakistani-American community. The 30,000 Pakistani-Americans who attended the rally at Capital One Arena in Washington DC made it abundantly clear that the community has "arrived". Several Congressmen whose districts have significant numbers of Pakistani-Americans tweeted their pictures with Imran Khan. The House resolution welcoming the Prime Minister also acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."
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