WASHINGTON: The Trump administration, which assumes power on Friday, has no plans to “unfriend” Pakistan but its relations with India will be even closer than those of the Obama adm­i­­nistration, says Sajid Tarar, a prominent Pak­istani supporter of President-elect Donald Trump.

Mr Tarar, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July and prayed for Mr Trump’s victory, will also address the prayer breakfast for the new president. The ceremony will be held at Washington’s National Cathedral on Jan 21, a day after Mr Trump takes oath as the 45th president of the United States.

Former US presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and their wives, will be among the audience who will hear Mr Tarar recite Surah-i-Fateha for Mr Trump.

“I chose the first Surah of the holy Quran because it is the beginning of a new presidency, and I hope and pray that the next four years bring peace and prosperity to all,” Mr Tarar told Dawn.

Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s main opponent in the 2016 election, has confirmed that she would attend the inaugural ceremonies.

Mr Tarar said he was a “committed American and a committed Pakistani” and wanted to “do something to improve US-Pakistan relations”.

He noted that most Muslims in America, including Pakistanis, voted for Mr Trump’s rival in the election. “That’s their democratic right but they should now accept the fact that Mr Trump is the president,” said Mr Tarar, a founding member of the Muslims for Trump group.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2017