ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday left for the United States for a four-day official visit that aims at fortification of bilateral economic and political relations. During the visit‚ he will hold wide-ranging talks with US President Barack Obama.
In a brief statement issued before his departure, Nawaz said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the United States and that he would discuss enhancing bilateral trade and investment during his meetings with American officials.
The pm said economic stability is prerequisite for country's sovereignty. He said all institutions fully back his agenda of safeguarding the country's interests and honour. He said democracy is strength of Pakistan.
PM Nawaz will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday at the start of the highest level official Pakistani visit to the United States in several years. He will meet President Obama on Wednesday (Oct 23). Nawaz will also meet Vice President Joe Biden and interact with members of Congress. Senior US government officials will also call on Prime Minister to discuss matters of bilateral interest.
The prime minister will attend a business event organised by Pakistan-US Business Council and address the US Institute of Peace and interact with members of Pakistani community. He will also meet with members of Pakistani-American community and inform them about the government's development agenda as well as its efforts to steer the country out of energy crisis.
In addition to discussing ways to strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the two sides would also deliberate on regional peace and security issues, including Afghanistan, as the White House looks forward to listening to the views of the new Pakistani government.
Pakistan-India relations may also figure during the meeting. Prime Minister Nawaz is also expected to express Pakistan's views in the regional security perspective, particularly in view of 2014 Afghan transition and implications of the developments in the neighbouring country for Pakistan.
Announcing the visit recently, the White House said PM Nawaz Sharif's "visit will highlight the importance and resilience of the US-Pakistan relationship and provide an opportunity for us to strengthen cooperation on issues of mutual concern, such as energy, trade and economic development, regional stability, and countering violent extremism".
Prime Minister is expected to take up the issue of controversial drone strikes the US carries out against suspected militants hiding in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border and he would try to convince the US President that these attacks are counter-productive and impeding Pakistan's efforts to bring normalcy to its restive areas.