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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Security issue: Iranian president’s several activities in Lahore curtailed

One of main reasons why Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Lahore was cut short was the issue of security clearance

By Asif Mehmood Butt
April 23, 2024
PM Shehbaz receives Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. — PID
PM Shehbaz receives Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. — PID 

LAHORE: One of the main reasons why Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Lahore was cut short was the issue of security clearance, sources said.

Reliable sources told Daily Jang on Monday that some of the activities of the Iranian president in Lahore, including meetings with cultural and journalistic personalities, and discussions regarding the strengthening and improvement of bilateral relations, including cultural ties, were also included by the government. However, they had to be abandoned after not getting security clearance, though law and order in the city and the country is satisfactory.

Security sources of Punjab said there was also a discussion in a meeting of the Provincial Intelligence Committee, in which security clearance was obtained for some programmes of the Iranian president in Lahore in the light of the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, some events had to be cancelled.

The sources said the Iranian president’s visit to Lahore included visits to some religious schools and meetings with scholars and teachers, but clearance was not given due to some unavoidable reasons.

According to diplomatic sources, the Iranian president’s visit to Lahore was of great importance, in which, apart from cultural activities, a large number of people were to be invited to functions at historical places, which could convey the message that Pakistanis had greatly appreciated the visit.

Sources said a luncheon has been organised for him at the Governor’s House in Lahore. The VVIP hall of the Governor’s House, where this lunch will be held, has a capacity of 150 people, while the number of people accompanying him is 78.

The sources said that the Iranian authorities have been told that businessmen from Iran should not be brought to the luncheon due to the lack of space in the hall. They said the Iranian guests seemed somewhat surprised at the changes in the programmes by the Pakistani authorities. According to security sources, immediately after the arrival of the Iranian president, meetings will be held with literary figures and scholars at the famous Bukhari Hall of the Government College University at 9am. Later, he will visit the Badshahi Masjid, Shahi Qila and Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum and leave for Karachi after attending the lunch.