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Wednesday July 17, 2024

China minister tells Pakistani leaders: 'No development sans internal stability'

To boost CPEC cooperation, Liu Jianchao demands Pakistan improve security situation

By Web Desk
June 21, 2024

A Chinese minister has informed Pakistan's political leadership that internal stability is crucial for any nation to progress, suggesting unity among the parties.

"In a turbulent world of rising uncertainties, stability within the country is essential for development. Faced with complex internal and external challenges, Pakistan is navigating carefully through turbulent rivers," Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) Liu Jianchao said.

Jianchao made the remarks as he co-chaired — along with Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar — the third meeting of the Pakistan-China Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) of the Political Parties on the CPEC.

Leaders belonging to all major political parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), were present during the event.

PTI's Barrister Ali Zafar and Raoof Hasan, PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam's Emir Fazlur Rehman, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, and other top leaders were in attendance.

Pakistan and China enjoy close relations with Bejing also investing billions of dollars in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and working in various sectors to boost Islamabad's capabilities.

However, the works on the flagship project have been hindered in recent years due to the security situation with China informing the Pakistani side of its reservations.

The Chinese official said that there can be sustainable development only when all political parties in a country join hands to ensure political and social stability.

"And for all these years, China has always been striving hard to maintain a good balance of reform, development, and stability — each of the three fundamentals is indispensable."

'Eroding foundation of friendship'

The minister noted that over the years, CPEC has boosted Pakistan's economic and social development. However, he said that more efforts need to be made, especially when it comes to security.

"We are ready to build the upgraded version of CPEC [...] we need to improve security and business environment. Security threats are the main hazards disturbing CPEC cooperation," he highlighted.

In the case of Pakistan, he said, the primary factor shaking the confidence of Chinese investors is the security situation. "Without security, the business environment cannot really improve, which can undermine development in the long run."

At the same time, he also appreciated the Pakistani security forces for their services in this regard.

Moving on, the senior official said that due to the wholehearted support of the people of both nations, Pakistan and China have become "iron friends". "Public support is the bedrock of the China-Pakistan relationship."

However, voicing fears, he said that the mutual affinity between the people of the countries is still not commensurate with the iron-clad friendship of the countries.

"In particular, there's a rising risk of Western social media which has a huge impact on the younger generation, eroding the foundation of the China-Pakistan friendship," Jianchao said.

He said the Chinese government was ready to promote exchanges between the youth, media, think tanks, academics, and local governments, and help the public understand the friendship better.

Boosting people-to-people linkages

In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dar reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to enhance people-to-people linkages with China to deepen the sentiments of mutual respect, trust and understanding between the two countries.

Dar said Pakistan-China friendship is a relationship of the past, the present, and the future. He said the strategic trust between the nations is unshakeable and nothing can undo it.

The deputy prime minister said this meeting is a manifestation of a shared commitment to preserve and protect this relationship from the vagaries of national, regional, and international politics.

Dar said there is complete unanimity amongst all political parties in Pakistan on CPEC's importance for Pakistan's economic growth and sustainable development.

The deputy prime minister said the CPEC is not merely a symbol of Pakistan-China friendship. It is a shining emblem of a new vision for international cooperation.

He said the people of Pakistan will never forget China's support in crucial times.

Referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's recent visit to China, Dar said there was renewed consensus on upgradation of the corridor project. He said we are prioritising industry, modern agriculture, Information Technology and mining and minerals.

'Game changer'

For his part, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that CPEC had not only transformed Pakistan’s infrastructure landscape but had also significantly contributed to its socio-economic development.

"All political parties of Pakistan speak with one voice in complete solidarity with CPEC as a ‘game changer’."

"The bond between the people of the two nations has successfully withstood the test of time," he expressed.

He said: “China and Pakistan have always held each other’s hands and shown the world that both nations stand together as one in peace and prosperity, and tragedy and turmoil.”

Sadiq said" “This “all-weather friendship” bears testimony to the age-old Chinese saying: A friend — one soul, two bodies.”

In his address, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that all political parties are sitting at the same table today, proving that the political leadership of both countries are on the same page.

To ensure the progress of CPEC, Iqbal stressed the need to work together. The exchange of dialogue between political delegations will create harmony, he said.

The Communist Party of China should also work on boosting its relations with the politicians of Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan, the minister noted.

In his speech, JUI-F Emir Fazl said he was grateful to China for supporting Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. He said it was his desire to make the friendship between the countries beneficial for the people.

"There is a national consensus on CPEC in Pakistan," Fazl said.

Hina Rabbani Khar, a top PPP leader and a former foreign minister, said that all political parties are on the same page when it comes to CPEC.

"The role of Pakistan and China in the global scenario is important. China has made immense progress in science and technology," she noted. Khar also welcomed all political parties' participation in the event.

CPEC, PTI Senator Ali Zafar, said is an expression of the vision of Pakistan-China friendship. "Friendship with China is the main pillar of our foreign policy."