ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi will leave for China on Monday (today) on his first visit to the neighbouring country since assuming the office in September 2018.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that the president would be visiting China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping of China.
During his two-day visit, the president would be accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and senior government officials.
“This will be the president’s first visit to China, which is singularly aimed at conveying strong support and solidarity of Pakistan towards the government and the people of China while Beijing was resolutely engaged in efforts to contain and deal with the spread of Covid-19,” the FO spokesperson said.
Several MoUs expected to be signed during visit
She said the president would meet President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders during his stay in Beijing. She said a number of memorandums of understanding were expected to be signed during the visit.
This is also the first visit of any high level Pakistani delegation to China since the outbreak of deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where hundreds of Pakistani students had been studying.
Despite repeated demands by parents of the students and the opposition parties, the Pakistan government refused to bring these students back to the country.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood recently claimed in the National Assembly that the government had not repatriated these students on the request of the Chinese government.
He further asserted that the government’s decision was right as the Chinese government had taken good care of these students.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2020