Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the UK, scheduled next month, will not go ahead as Pakistan wanted engagement with the UK beyond just a cricket match and made a number of demands to the UK government which were not entertained, according to credible sources.
The UK govt told Pakistan that PM Imran Khan will be welcomed at 10 Downing Street for a meeting with PM Boris Johnson after the cricket match but also said that this will just be a visit and nothing else, according to sources.
The sources said that negotiators from Pakistani govt side wanted the UK govt to sign a strategic partnership agreement for 10 years, similar to the Road Map signed recently between India and the UK to enhance relations.
The negotiations went on for three weeks. A credible source said that Pakistani side wanted to raise the issue of Nawaz Sharif and wanted to check if the UK govt will make announcement to hand over Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan, even if the Road Map deal is not signed, as then PM Imran Khan can justify why his UK visit was important but the UK government flatly said that Pakistan should file for extradition of Nawaz Sharif through the procedures and the UK PM will not get involved.
Pakistani side shared with the UK govt that without the Road Map agreement and without the mention of Nawaz Sharif, the visit will backfire if its only about a cricket match and a meaningless meeting with PM Boris Johnson.
The UK govt said that it be inviting PM Imran Khan for the climate summit later this year but will not be able to sign any deals at this stage as these things take time.
“There is no purpose of the visit during the pandemic involving all the hassle if there are no group level discussions and no agreements signed,” said the source who spoke to Dunya News privately.
The UK government said it will not comment.
Sources at Pakistan High Commission said that it was planning to hold a big rally in Wembley Stadium as well and had received instructions to make preparations, following Covid guidelines, but the plan has been postponed till PM Imran Khan’s next visit.
The High Commission sources said its not sure whether Imran Khan will visit London this year or not as the summit will be held in Glasgow.