Protests, they say, kept the Chinese president away

  • Foreign Ministry confirms postponement of Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan owing to PTI, PAT protests
  • According to reports, president Xi Jinping is expected to visit country by end of this month



Pakistan Saturday formally announced the postponement of the Chinese president’s visit to the country due to the ongoing anti-government protests in the capital.

“In view of the current political situation in Pakistan, the governments of China and Pakistan have mutually agreed to postpone the state visit of HE Xi Jinping, President of China, to Pakistan, which was scheduled to take place later this month,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that new dates for the president’s visit to Pakistan were being discussed through diplomatic channels.

“Both countries underline that China and Pakistan are time-tested all-weather friends. Both sides attach high importance to the visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, as early as possible, for promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries,” the statement said.

Furthermore, two more foreign heads have also cancelled their visit due to the ongoing protests in the capital by supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), who have blocked the Constitution Avenue for the past three weeks.

Last week, three people were killed and 500 others were injured as the protesters clashed with the police.

The media had earlier reported that a Chinese advance team did not give security clearance in a meeting with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

On Friday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that the visit had not been cancelled but was only postponed and the government was trying to schedule the visit by the end of this month.

Aziz had told the committee that arrangements for the Chinese president’s visit were in place until Thursday and the government was trying to shift some of the meetings to Lahore due to the situation in Islamabad.

Earlier, private TV channels had reported that the Chinese president was scheduled to pay a two-day visit to Pakistan on September 14-16.

The final decision from Pakistan’s end was taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after consulting his foreign policy and security advisors.

The Chinese president, however, will visit India and Sri Lanka as had been the plan to visit the three countries in the region.


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