AT a time when Pakistan was facing daunting economic and financial challenges, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has come out with a categorical assurance on behalf of his country to enhance bilateral economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investment from China to Pakistan.
In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, both the leaders shared the view that the “Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership” must continue to serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries, as well as the broader interests of peace and stability amid the evolving regional and global milieu.
To this end, they agreed to enhance the momentum of exchanges to take bilateral cooperation to even higher levels.
It is a matter of satisfaction that there is unanimity of views of the two countries on all facets and dimensions of bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, which augurs well not only for fostering the cooperative relationship further but also working together for the cherished objectives of promoting regional and global peace and security.
Issues do crop up in bilateral ties but it is the level of sincerity and commitment of the leadership that matters much for boosting cooperation for the mutual good and we have seen this happening in China-Pakistan context for the last several decades.
Pakistan-China is considered to be a model relationship and that is why some vested interests have been conspiring to create a wedge but credit goes to the leadership of the two countries for foiling designs of our enemies.
Some powers have made no secret of their desires and plans to create obstacles in the way of smooth implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is rightly considered to be a harbinger of durable socio-economic transformation in Pakistan.
Apart from diplomatic pressure, Chinese engineers and technicians working on developmental projects in Pakistan have been made target of terrorist attacks, raising, of course, concerns about safety and security of Chinese nationals.
Pakistan is, however, grateful to Chinese leaders for their proper understanding of this sensitive issue and that is why the conspirators could not succeed in their nefarious designs to cause any serious dent in the implementation of these projects.
During the phone call, Shehbaz Sharif offered condolences over the death of three Chinese scholars in a suicide blast at Karachi University on April 26, assuring to hold thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with our laws.
In the backdrop of repeated terrorist incidents, the Prime Minister has done well by reiterating that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions assuring Premier Li that the government was determined to take the measures for their security and safety in Pakistan.
The two leaders agreed that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the long-standing partnership between the two countries.
We have consistently been demanding in these columns that impediments in the way of accelerated execution of all CPEC-related projects should be removed on a priority basis as these are designed to accelerate the pace of socio-economic progress of people of Pakistan.
The momentum of progress during the PTI Government remained wanting and, therefore, we would welcome the commitment made by Mian Shehbaz Sharif during his telephonic call with his Chinese counterpart to fast track both ongoing and new projects under the framework of CPEC.
That the incumbent Pakistan Government is genuinely determined to realize this objective is also confirmed by the untiring efforts being made by Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, to rejuvenate all projects.
In view of the greater and vital socio-economic relevance of all CPEC projects, it is the desire of the people of Pakistan to speed up work on all of them and add more projects keeping in view requirements and problems of different regions and provinces.
Necessary homework should be done before the proposed visit of Pakistan Prime Minister to China so that concrete decisions are taken on expanding cooperation under CPEC and forging cooperation in other mutually beneficial sectors.
China has always extended its firm support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and the latest telephonic interaction between Prime Ministers of the two countries was yet another manifestation of China’s unwavering commitment to the cause of a secure, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.