AT a time when the country is facing foreign exchange crisis of an extreme nature, China has, once again, demonstrated its commitment to helping Pakistan overcome its problems by offering timely assistance. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced on Friday that the cash-strapped country had received another $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC).
Chinese President Xi Jinping affirmed his country’s commitment to boost economic ties with Pakistan during visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing in November last year and he has lived up to his pledge as it was basically due to the Chinese cooperation that Pakistan has been able to avert a default, especially when the IMF is deliberately prolonging the signing of an agreement for the restoration of a suspended loan. On March 4, ICBC had approved a rollover of a $1.3 billion loan for Pakistan. At the time, Dar said the facility would be disbursed in three instalments, with the first instalment of $500m received by the central bank. In a related development, Shandong Xinxu Group Corporation Chairman, Hou Jianxin, during a meeting with the Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar announced their decision to establish an industrial park in Pakistan which will serve as a focal point for all the industrial requirements of Pakistan from China and vice versa. These are highly encouraging developments as they come at a difficult juncture in the history of Pakistan, strengthening the belief of its people that China was the most sincere and reliable development partner. Look-China policy has always paid dividends and we firmly hope that the Government will initiate urgent measures to restore its previous momentum.