Islamabad, Apr.7 : Only two federal cabinet ministers, both representing the Pakistan People's Party, will accompany President Pervez Musharraf on his visit to China next week.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar will travel with Musharraf on a six-day state visit to China from April 10-15, diplomatic sources told The News.
The PML-N has declined to be a part of the presidential entourage on Musharraf's first high profile foreign visit after the formation of the new government.
Given the increasing thrust on economic cooperation between Pakistan and China and some expected agreements in the area, the Presidency had requested that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar be included in the official delegation. But apparently Dar excused himself on the pretext that he had an important meeting with the World Bank around that time. This would be the first occasion in Pakistan's history that a president has been put in such an awkward position ahead of a foreign visit.
The president will hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao at whose invitation he will be visiting the country. He will also meet Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders. The visit has been characterised by the Foreign Office spokesperson as part of regular high-level interaction between the two countries. The president will also visit Boao where he will be the keynote speaker at the Boao Forum for Asia, which will bring together other world leaders as well.