No red carpet welcome for Pak PM, media in Washington

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Washington, July 30 : Journalists accompanying Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are a furious lot as they were made to wait for 6-8 hours at the Andrews Air Force Base on Sunday afternoon, and also because some of them were not invited to the dinner hosted by Pakistan ambassador in Washington Hussein Haqqani, despite the fact that money was spent lavishly in decorating the venue and giving expensive floral bouquets to the quests.

According to The News, lack of funds could not be the reason behind not inviting some of the journalists to the dinner and a few more chairs could have been added to adjust some more journalists.

"At least lack of funds is not one valid reason as spending by the embassy has been lavish with huge floral bouquets delivered to all important members of the delegation at the expensive Willard Hotel in the heart of Washington, each costing at least 150 dollars. Adding a few more seats to the dinner table may not have cost the embassy more than two floral bouquets," the paper said in report filed from Washington. It further said that even the Prime Minister and his wife were not accorded a formal welcome at the airport and they were made to walk the tarmac after alighting in Washington.

The prime minister was made to walk from his plane to the shed, almost a two-three minute walk, where at the shed gate none higher than Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher met him. During the walk, Gilani and his wife were seen quite perturbed as neither there was an ordinary carpet nor the customary red carpet, as is usual on official visits, said the report.

It further said that a junior US official who had come to the aircraft to escort the PM reportedly told the minister that there was a threat of a thunderstorm and so they would be safer inside the aircraft but what baffled everyone was that PM Gilani was not provided a car to drive up to the welcome shed and had to walk, despite the thunderstorm threat.

The delay for the journalists was exhausting and some of them reached the hotel in Washington DC almost six to eight hours after landing at the Andrews. No Pakistani diplomat or official helped them in their ordeal, said the paper.

ANI

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