Washington: United States President Donald Trump on Monday used his meeting with Imran Khan to slam the US media, saying he was treated worse than the Pakistan Prime Minister by the journalists.
President Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Khan for the first time in a meeting at the White House where the two leaders discussed a host of issues, including the Afghan peace process and the Kashmir issue.
Talking to reporters during a joint media appearance with President Trump at the Oval Office, Khan said Pakistan had one of the freest presses in the world, refuting allegations that the freedom of media in his country was under attack during his government.
"Pakistan has one of the freest presses in the world... The criticism I've received from my own press is unprecedented. To say there are curbs on the Pakistan press is a joke," Khan said in response to a question from his fellow Pakistani journalists.
"Wait a minute. There's no way you're treated worse than I am," Trump quickly interjected, amidst laughter.
Opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has imposed a "complete ban" on the media coverage of opposition leaders, especially Maryam Nawaz whom he considers a "big threat" to his rule.
Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday said in a statement "Pakistan's most popular news channel, the privately owned Geo News broadcaster, has been forced off the air or had its channel number abruptly changed in many parts of the country.
Trump has often criticised the US media, calling it "fake news" and "enemy of the people."
The two leaders discussed the Afghan peace process and a host of other issues during their meeting, and Trump also offered to be the "mediator" between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
The US president claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he discussed the issue of Kashmir in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last month, where Modi made an offer of a third-party arbitration on Kashmir. "I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' (Modi said) 'Kashmir'," Trump said as he held talks with Khan for the first time since the latter came to power in August, 2018.
"Because this has been going on for many, many years. I am surprised that how long. It has been going on (for long)," he said, with Khan responding 70 years.
"I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It should be....we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can't solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that," Trump said.
However, the Indian government has denied Trump's astonishing claim that PM Modi had asked him to mediate. "We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted.