Pakistan News

PM’s remarks caught Imran unawares

PM’s remarks caught Imran unawares

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif put Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan in an awkward situation when the latter was shaking hands with Chinese Presi­dent Xi Jinping in the Parl­ia­ment House on Tuesday.

After addressing the joint sitting of parliament, President Xi accompanied by Prime Minister Sharif walked to parliamentarians in the front row. When Speaker Ayaz Sadiq was introducing the PTI chief, Prime Minister Sharif asked him in Urdu to also inform the Chinese president that he could not come to Pakistan four months ago because of this gentleman (Imran Khan).

Read: Xi Jinping’s visit

A source present on the occasion quoted the prime minister as saying: “Inn ko yeh bhi batayen keh Khan Sahib ki wajah se yeh (Chinese president) chaar maheenay pehlay naheen aa sakay.”

The remarks made by the prime minister, according to the source, caught Imran Khan unawares and the PTI chief was heard complaining to his party colleagues about the PM’s ‘verbal attack’.

But PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Dawn that the exchange took place in a lighter vein. “When the PM made the quip to the Chinese president, Imran Khan responded that the issues that existed in the past had been settled now,” he said.

A visit by President Xi, scheduled for September last year, was cancelled because of a political deadlock in the country at the time as a result of protest sit-ins held by the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek outside the Parliament House against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections and killing of PAT workers in Lahore.

President Xi was again expected to visit on March 23 to attend the Pakistan Day parade but he could not do so because of some engagements back home.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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