Confusion over Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan

Published September 4, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping. -AFP/File Photo
Chinese President Xi Jinping. -AFP/File Photo

ISLAMABAD: There has been a great deal of confusion on Thursday surrounding Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan and as to whether the trip has been cancelled or delayed.

Reports suggest that the visit, scheduled from 14th to 16th September, may be cancelled due to the ongoing political tensions in Islamabad between the government and protestors led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Tahirul Qadri.

National Security and Foreign Affairs Advisor to the PM Sartaj Aziz said during an interview on DawnNews, that the Chinese leader’s visit will not be cancelled but it is a possibility that it could be delayed.

At the same time Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Twitter that the visit had been cancelled and lashed out at the PTI and PTA leaders.

However, the Chinese Embassy has said that they have no knowledge of President Xi Jinping's visit being cancelled and that they are monitoring the situation in Islamabad closely.

On Wednesday Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told Dawn.com that the visit by President Jinping is on schedule and was not being cancelled or changed.

This statement was made after a high-level Chinese team comprising of security and protocol of the Chinese president arrived in Islamabad to finalise the dates of the visit.

Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri have themselves given assurances that there would be no attempt on their part to create an impediment for President Jinping’s visit.

Khan and Qadri have both paid tribute to the Chinese president and have said that China was Pakistan’s closest friend.

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