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August 21, 2020

China, Pakistan agree to preserve, protect, promote CPEC

August 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Communist Party of China (CPC) and Pakistan’s mainstream political parties agreed to preserve, protect and promote China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

It was pointed out that three issues in Pakistan enjoy a broad national consensus across the board above party lines including Kashmir, nuclear programme and CPEC and today’s Joint Consultation Mechanism (JCM) further cemented this consensus on CPEC.

It was the crux of discussions held among the International Department of Communist Party of China, in collaboration with Pakistan-China Institute, organised the second conference of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism (JCM) on the theme of “Working Together to Promote Economic Development and Improve People’s Lives Through High-Quality CPEC Cooperation” here on Thursday.

Both sides political parties viewed CPEC as a “game changer and a guarantor of a better tomorrow for Pakistan’s 220 million people”. It was attended by nine political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the Pakistan People’s Party, the Balochistan Awami Party, the National Party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, the Awami National Party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, as well as leading officials from relevant government departments and representatives from business community of the two countries.

The first JCM was held in Beijing in March 2019 and this JCM has now emerged as the institutional mechanism between the CPC and Pakistani political parties for CPEC coordination and communication.

This online conference of nine political parties representing both the government and the opposition was the first of its kind in Pakistan that agreed to preserve, protect and promote CPEC, above party lines, since they all view CPEC as a “game changer and a guarantor of a better tomorrow for Pakistan’s 220 million people”.

President Arif Alvi, in a congratulatory message to the conference, termed CPEC as ‘an iconic project of the Belt & Road Initiative which will change the destiny of the region and promote regional connectivity’. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong support to One China policy and strongly opposed any foreign intervention in internal affairs of China with regard to Hong Kong and Taiwan. He also thanked China for supporting Pakistan on Kashmir issue. The conference was co-chaired from the Pakistani side by the Chairman Senate, Sadiq Sanjrani and from the Chinese side by Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of CPC who is a member of the Chinese Central leadership. The 3-hour long conference also had experts speaking on various issues.

Song Tao, Minister of IDCPC in his keynote speech thanked the president of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi for sending the congratulatory letter. While appreciating the consensus to take it forward. Party to party cooperation between China and Pakistan is increasing and CPEC is entering into a new era.

Senator Sadiq Sanjrani, in his keynote address, credited China for promoting regional connectivity with its landmark Belt and Road Initiative and extended Pakistan’s support to President Xi Jinping’s vision of “shared prosperity” and “win-win” cooperation of which CPEC is the practical manifestation. While appreciating President Xi Jinping’s leadership which has fulfilled the promise of “ruling for the people”, he pointed towards the role of CPC in accomplishing the first centennial goal by 2021. Lastly, he affirmed that the Senate of Pakistan shall play a greater role in engaging the consensus of different parties and delivering the political support for more cooperation between the countries under the CPEC.

Liu Qi, Leader of CPC Jiangxi Provincial Committee congratulated all the participants for the successful organization of the second JCM of political parties on CPEC. He said that the economic cooperation between Pakistan and China is important in high quality construction of CPEC. Moreover, he announced donation of 500,000 masked and 2000 Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) to Pakistani political parties.

Saifullah Khan Nyazee, Chief Organizer of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said that this conference is a great moment that shows that all political parties are on one platform when it comes to CPEC. He also appreciated the exemplary measures taken by China during the fight against pandemic. Moreover, he reaffirmed the commitment and confidence of PTI in taking CPEC forward.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, who also is founding Chairman of PCI, congratulated China on successfully combating COVID-19 through timely measures, decisive leadership and a governance system based on excellent health care facilities as well as a people centered approach and thanked China for its support to Pakistan during the COVID-19 crisis. He said that there are three issues in Pakistan which enjoy a broad national consensus across the board above party lines and these are Kashmir, nuclear programme and CPEC and today’s JCM cemented this consensus on CPEC amongst political parties of Pakistan.

Moreover, he said that CPEC remains uninterrupted despite the pandemic and is connecting the less developed parts of Pakistan through the Western route. It has activated Gwadar port as the hub of regional connectivity including Afghan transit trade and connectivity with Central Asia. Lastly, he said that Pakistan fully supports China in the defence of its territorial integrity and sovereignty, rejects politicising of the pandemic, appreciates China’s positive role, and rejects the notion of a new cold war. Both countries support each other’s core interests and he referred to the presence in China today of a high level civil-military delegation led by the foreign minister.

Sherry Rehman, Vice President of the Pakistan People’s Party and Chairperson of Senate Committee on CPEC said that CPEC is the poster child of BRI and is the economic stabiliser for Pakistan. She reiterated PPP’s support to CPEC and PPP is invested in the “Chinese dream”. Pakistan believes in China’s sovereign right to develop and stays firm to One-China policy. Moreover, she said that Pakistan and China share an outstanding history of cooperation. Lastly, she appreciated China for emerging as a world leader in the current crisis.

Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, Governor of Balochistan, said that the year 2020 is rough and tough and China has emerged as a key player in world politics and economy. China and Pakistan are all weather friends and strategic partners and Pakistan was the first country to send medical aid to China when it was fighting COVID pandemic. Moreover, he said that western media shows its double standards when it comes to reporting of Xinjiang issue. He said that people in Xinjiang are reaping the benefits of China’s development. Moreover, he said that Balochistan is an important link of CPEC and Gwadar port will help in connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.

Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, said that he is happy to see the COVID cases in Pakistan getting lower day by day. The resilient nature of Pakistan-China friendship and CPEC can be gauged from the fact that it survived even the COVID pandemic and has become stronger. Moreover, he said that China will always stand side by side with Pakistan in all areas of cooperation and both countries will fight the challenges like COVID together.

At the end of the conference, a joint statement was adopted unanimously by all the participants, criticised the ‘slander’ against CPEC and said the JCM would maintain ‘strategic communication’ and build consensus amongst political parties.