Sharif Likely To Attend Trump’s Oath Ceremony


Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, keen to meet Donald Trump, may visit Washington in January for the oath-taking ceremony of the US President-elect, media reports said on Sunday.

Speculation about the visit comes after telephonic conversation between Sharif and Trump last week.

Sources in Islamabad said Special Assistant to Sharif on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi is leaving for the US today to finalise the schedule of the visit.

Prime Minister House sources said a proposal regarding the Sharif’s participation in the oath-taking ceremony of the new US president is also on the cards but nothing has been finalised so far. “Invitations are usually issued to the heads of states and governments on such occasions. The option to respond positively to any such invitation once received is under consideration,” a source close to the Prime Minister said.

Fatemi would stay in Washington for 10 days and would meet the Trump team as well and discuss the ways to strengthen the bilateral ties between Pakistan and US. He would brief the team about the role Pakistan played in the war on terror and Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan and India.

According to media reports, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) has been trying to arrange a possible visit of Sharif to Washington where Trump will assume charge of the Office of the President of the United States on January 20. Sharif has expressed his desire to attend Trump’s oath -taking ceremony.

The Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC has also started making requisite efforts to make this happen. It was reported that the Sharif may leave for the US on the January 18 or 19.

The decision of Sharif’s US visit hinges on the possibility of a meeting with Trump. Analysts say that it will be a major breakthrough if a meeting is actually realised, the reports said.

Sharif is said to have given special instructions to Fatemi who would meet the US Congress members and Senate and seek their support and cooperation for better ties with the new US administration. The adviser would also meet the US think tank members and would brief them on Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region. Fatemi would also highlight the “Indian atrocities” in Kashmir and “ceasefire violations” by Indian security forces on Line of Control and Working Boundary, sources said.

During their conversation last week, Trump had described Sharif as a “terrific guy” and offered to play “any role” in helping Pakistan address its problems.