Lahore    -   Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday addressed members of the US Congress at Capitol Hill, telling them that he wanted to reinvigorate the long-standing ties between the United States and Pakistan, before he wrapped up his highly successful three-day visit.

On way back home, the prime minister received a royal reception during his brief stopover in Doha on Wednesday.

Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani welcomed his Pakistani counterpart at Hamd International Airport.

PM’s Adviser on Commerce and Trade Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari and Secretary Foreign Affairs Sohail Mehmood also accompanied the premier.

After the reception at the airport, the two sides held discussed bilateral ties and matters of mutual interest at the Qatari premier’s residence.

Earlier in Washington, the prime minister met with Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and had an interaction with the US lawmakers.

The premier had been invited to a reception at Capitol Hill by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. Also in attendance were a large number of senators and members of US House of Representatives.

The premier exchanged views on matters relating to Pakistan-US relations and regional developments with Pelosi, an official statement said.

PM Imran told her that peace in the region was vitally important for the promotion of Pakistan’s development agenda.  

He said that Islamabad had extended its full support to facilitate direct talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban, which had made progress.

“The prime minister also shared his vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia. He stressed that this could be achieved through peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and building a stable and cooperative relationship,” added the statement.

During the premier’s address to members of the US Congress, he reiterated his earlier commitment to US President Donald Trump and told lawmakers in Washington that the entire country and the Pakistani armed forces are on the same page to achieve a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.

PM Imran also reiterated Pakistan’s sacrifices in the 15-year war on terror.

“More than 70,000 Pakistani people died and our economy suffered billions of dollars lost in the war against terror. Pakistan fought the US war of terror even though we had nothing to do with 9/11, al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan and there were no militant Taliban in Pakistan,” he said adding that bilateral relations between both countries going forward must be based on “mutual trust”.

“Pakistan is misunderstood here, specifically in the last 15 years when the war on terror was being fought in Afghanistan and on our borders,” he added.

 Pelosi’s speech

Ahead of Prime Minister Imran’s address, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recalled she had been introduced to Pakistan during her time at university, when another student had told her to read up on Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. She said she learned about the “greatness of the statesman” during this venture.

Pelosi noted that the relationship between Pakistan and the United States was an “important one”. As she welcomed the premier, Pelosi also thanked Pakistan for the “beautiful gift” of Pakistani Americans that she said the country had given to the US.

In her joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran, Pelosi said: “The United States values the critical relationship — the partnership with Pakistan.”

She thanked the premier for his leadership with regards to reconciliation efforts between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban, and for advancing “enduring peace in the region”.

Later, the US Congress Speaker, members of Congress and the Co-Chair of Pakistan-US Caucus appreciated the role Pakistan is playing especially in the Afghan peace process, stating the premier had made history by proposing a solution to the lingering Afghan issue.

They also lauded PM Imran’s endeavors for maintaining peace in the region, while also accepting Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terror and militancy.

Members of Congress also stated the US will cooperate with Pakistan in education and renewable energy sectors.

The lawmakers also presented a copy of the Special Resolution introduced in the Congress to welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inaugural visit to the USA to reaffirm the continuing support and commitment to the long and enduring friendship between Pakistan and the US.