190913 Bilawal Bhutto
Bilawal Bhutto in a file photo. Image Credit: APP

Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday on relations between the two countries as they seek to repair ties that were strained under former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

They also spoke about the situation in Pakistan’s neighbour Afghanistan and about the impact of the Russian attacks on Ukraine on food security in Pakistan and the rest of the world, the US State Department said after their call.

The Pakistan foreign ministry said Bilawal requested an easing in issuance of US visas for Pakistani nationals. It was the second interaction between the two leaders. They last spoke in May.

Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, had antagonised the United States throughout his tenure, welcoming the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year and more recently accusing Washington of being behind the attempt to oust him. Washington and Pakistan’s National Security Council, a body of top civil and military leaders, dismissed the accusations.

“The Secretary welcomed the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan and reaffirmed our joint goals for enhancing US-Pakistan bilateral partnerships on economic stability, climate, and health,” the State Department said in its statement on Wednesday.