Asia

China's Pakistan visit 'postponed over ongoing protests'

Anti-government protesters listen to their leader Tahir ul-Qadri, a Sufi cleric and leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) political party, during heavy rain in front of the Parliament house in Islamabad, 4 September 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Anti-government protests have been taking place in the capital, Islamabad, for the past three weeks

Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Pakistan has been postponed, the Pakistani foreign ministry says.

The ministry said the delay was "in view of the current political situation in Pakistan" and the trip would be rescheduled "as early as possible".

Islamabad has experienced three weeks of anti-government protests, some of which have been violent.

A visit from Sri Lanka's president was also cancelled last month for similar reasons.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been hoping for about $34bn (£21bn) of deals to be signed during Mr Xi's visit, reports said.

In a statement, Pakistan's foreign ministry described the two countries as "time-tested all-weather friends" and said talks were underway for a rescheduled visit.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese side.

Anti-government protesters, led by opposition politician Imran Khan and Sufi clerif Tahirul Qadri, want the government to resign. Mr Sharif's government won a landslide victory in the May 2013 elections.

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