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Imran Khan to skip UNGA session; Qureshi to lead Pak delegation


Press Trust of India Islamabad
Cash-strapped Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan will skip the UN General Assembly session next month as he is occupied with some pressing domestic engagements, his top aide has said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he will head the Pakistani delegation in the absence of Prime Minister Khan at the 73rd UN General Assembly session scheduled for late September.
Talking to reporters last evening, Qureshi said Prime Minister Khan wants to focus on his new government and he thinks that the current situation in the country, including the state of the economy, needs his attention.
Citing sources, the local media reported that during a recent Foreign Office briefing, Khan had hinted about his decision to not attend the UNGA session. He had instructed Qureshi to prepare himself for the upcoming UN session.
Earlier, Pakistani media reported that Khan may skip the UNGA as part of his efforts to cut down on government expenses at a time when inflation is on the rise and the country's trade deficit is widening.
Prime Minister Khan has said that his initial focus would be on reviving Pakistan's battered economy. Pakistan's currency, the rupee, has declined significantly in the last year.
Qureshi will brief the UN member states on the regional security situation during his speech at the UN, they said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation at the UNGA session.
A meeting between Swaraj and her new Pakistani counterpart is "possible" in the US on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly session next month, Dawn reported this week.
This could be the first ministerial-level bilateral meeting since Khan became Pakistan's 22nd prime minister on August 18.
The 73rd UN General Assembly opens on September 18 in New York.

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First Published: Aug 29 2018 | 9:01 PM IST

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