Xi cancels Pakistan visit amid political furore

RSTV Bureau
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, left, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremony at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai, China in May, 2014

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, left, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremony at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai, China in May, 2014

Downplaying Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit cancellation to the country, Pakistan on Saturday said that it has been postponed due to the current political crisis.

“In view of the current political situation in Pakistan, the governments of China and Pakistan have mutually agreed to postpone the state visit of Xi Jinping to Pakistan,” a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.

The Foreign Office said the visit would be “re-scheduled at an early date.” The visit was scheduled to take place later this month.

The Foreign Office also said both countries underline that they are time-tested all-weather friends and attach high importance to the visit of President Xi to Pakistan, as early as possible, for promoting mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.

Analysts said the postponement was a setback to Pakistan government which had offered the Chinese delegation to land in Lahore but the proposal was rejected.

Protests have put Pakistan government under pressure. The protesters headed by Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have alleged vote rigging in last year’s general election and are demanding Prime Minister Sharif’s resignation.

Khan wants the ruling PML-N government’s ouster over alleged rigging in last year’s polls which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country. Both the leaders are agitating since August 14.