Imran in New York
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was received by Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi, Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan and other officials upon his arrival at the New York airport. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has arrived in New York on Saturday night on a week-long visit.

The main purpose of his visit is to highliht the issue of Kashmir. The Pakistani premier is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump on September 23 before addressing the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on September 27.

He is set to highlight the Kashmir issue in the world’s parliament — the UN General Assembly.

Imran, who went to Saudi Arabia on September 19, flew straight to New York along with his entourage, which includes Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and a number of officials.

Both the Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers are scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 27. Indian PM Narendra Modi will speak first, while Khan will speak later in the afternoon.

Khan has already announced that he will highlight the Kashmir issue in his address.

“This is mission Kashmir for the Prime Minister Imran and for Pakistan,” Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told Dawn.

“His message will be clear: to find a peaceful solution for the Kashmir dispute.”

World leaders will gather at the UN General Assembly to dicusss issues of peace and security.

Plight of Kashimiri people

“He will highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people who continue to suffer a suffocating lockdown,” said Ambassador Lodhi, adding the prime minister would meet world leaders and the UN secretary general.

People in the Indian-administered Kashmir, especially in Srinagar, have been subjected to curfew since Indian PM Narendra Modi revoked the special atonomous status of Kashmir.

“This is the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first General Assembly visit and he will be the voice of the Kashmiri people at the UN,” the ambassador Lodhi said.

Imran is staying at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel, which is partially owned by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Imran’s first informal engagement on Monday is breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His first official engagement at the UN is with Chinese representative on Monday, when he meets Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

At around 1am on Monday, the prime minister is expected to meet US President Donald Trump, which could be the first of the two meetings Imran is expected to have with the US leader during the UN session.

Houston rally

President Trump is also scheduled to address a joint rally with Indian PM Modi in Houston, Texas, on September 22, hours before he meets the Pakistani leader.

President Trump and Imran are also expected to have a separate meeting before or after the rally, focusing on India-Pakistan relations.

The Indian media reported earlier this week that Prime Minister Modi will not talk about the annexation or its consequences in his address.

Instead, he would repeat New Delhi’s claim that Pakistan may send militants into the valley to take advantage of the volatile situation.

Imran has made it clear that Pakistan not only opposes all such activities but has also increased its vigilance to prevent militants from taking advantage of the situation.

Islamabad fears that India may carry out violent attacks inside Kashmir and blame Pakistan.

After annexing the disputed territory, India has placed millions of Kashmiri people under military siege, and is keeping them incommunicado, with thousands thrown in jails.

Imran will will also co-host a meeting at the UN with Turkey’s President Erdogan on Countering Hate Speech. A trilateral summit is also planned with Malaysia and Turkey.

He will address the UNGA on three more occasions at the Climate Change Summit, Summit on Universal Health Care and Financing for Development.

Outside the UN, the prime minister will address the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

Meanwhile, Farooq Kathwari, founder of Kashmir Study Group (KSG) called on PM Imran Khan hours after his arrival in New York. KSG is a non-government body devoted to developing ideas that can lead to a resolution of the decades-old Kashmir conflict.

During the meeting, the prime minister urged Kathwari, a Srinagar-born Kashmiri-American, to further highlight the grave situation in Kashmir.

Present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeem ul Haq, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan and other senior officials.

Kathwari had also served as member for United States President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi told reporters that the prime minister wanted to listen to Kashmiris from both parts of Kashmir ahead of his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 27.