Pakistan ready to welcome Chinese leader

September 05, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office of Pakistan yesterday  dispelled rumours surrounding postponement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, asserting that the tour was on schedule.

Political upheaval in the country had already forced the cancellation of the Sri Lankan president’s visit to Pakistan earlier in August.

“The visit is very much on,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.

Aslam said Jinping would visit Pakistan sometime in September, but refrained to give any further details or a definitive date.

Sources in the Foreign Office said that an advance team comprising protocol and security officials of the Chinese president reached Islamabad yesterday to finalise the details of his tour.

His visit is being seen as crucial for Pakistan with a number of key economic and defence deals expected to be signed.

Fate of the visit, however, hangs in balance due to the ongoing protests by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the federal capital since August 14.

Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

As Xi Jinping holds the top offices of the party, state, and military, he is sometimes informally referred to as China’s ‘paramount leader’.