By UCA News
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said there were no plans for Pope Francis to visit Pakistan, refuting media reports that the pontiff had accepted an invite to the South Asian nation.
Father Lombardi said there is “currently no travel program to Pakistan being studied,” reported the National Catholic Register newspaper on March 3.
Pakistani Shipping Minister Kamran Michael and Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf told reporters March 3 that they had come to Rome “to ask the Holy Father to come to Pakistan and he agreed.” The pope was grateful for the invitation but neither accepted nor declined, according to Vatican sources.
In a press release, Aid to the Church in Need said the two ministers told Shahid Mobeen, founder of the Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy, that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has “much respect” for the pope and “strongly desires the pope to receive him in the country.”