Sino-Pak ideal relationship
PAKISTAN and China have commenced celebrations to mark the completion of 70 years of their diplomatic relations, established on 21 May 1951.
At a virtual ceremony held simultaneously at Islamabad and Beijing, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi expressed sentiments that echoed the aspirations of the people of the two countries, who are fully resolved to take their relationship to new heights.
Pakistan enjoys cordial ties with most of the countries of the globe but its bonds with the People’s Republic of China have always been exemplary and serve as a model of truly harmonious relationship between any two countries of the world.
Linkages with China date back to centuries old trade relations, when Chinese traders travelled through Pakistan on their business trips to the Middle-East, Europe and the rest of the world through the ancient Silk Route.
However, these gained formal shape and depth in 1950 when Pakistan became third non-Communist country and first Muslim country to recognize the People’s Republic of China and despatched a high level delegation on January 4, 1950.
Since then, there has been no going back on the resolve to expand and strengthen bilateral ties in different spheres of life – thanks to the unwavering commitment of the leadership and people of the two countries.
The relationship has sustained pressure of all sorts and survived despite challenges mounted by regional and global events and developments.
The bilateral relationship between the two neighbouring countries is characterized by feelings of mutual trust, respect and goodwill towards each other.
There is a regular exchange of visits at the highest level between the two countries. The strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China has grown over the past several decades. It is rightly pointed out that over the years, the relationship has blossomed into an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership”, with the CPEC at its core.
Pakistan considers China as one of its closest friends and partners and China considers Pakistan as its “Iron Brother”. Chinese always extended valuable assistance to Pakistan to overcome its economic and financial difficulties besides firmly and sincerely supporting efforts to safeguard security and sovereignty of the country.
Their closer cooperation and assistance has helped Pakistan to bolster its defence capabilities in the backdrop of discriminatory policies adopted by several other countries, which declined not just to share even civil nuclear cooperation with Pakistan but also went back on commitments to provide military equipment despite receiving advance payment.
The most shining example of bilateral friendship and cooperation is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of One Belt, One Road Initiative of President Xi Jinping, which is impacting upon deeply on socio-economic development of different regions of Pakistan especially those parts of the country that remained neglected in terms of economic opportunities ever since independence of the country.
While the infrastructure projects, either already completed or being implemented, are destined to accelerate the pace of economic development, power projects completed under CPEC have enabled the country to get rid of the chronic problem of load-shedding.
The projects being undertaken under the umbrella of CPEC are also instrumental in gradually realizing dreams of every Pakistani to make Gwadar Port fully functional and make the deep seaport hub of regional trade and connectivity.
Construction of water reservoirs and hydel-power projects is deeply linked to water security and the cherished objective of bringing down the overall electricity tariff and with this in view Chinese assistance in building dams and hydel-power plants has won hearts and minds of people of Pakistan as the projects are also creating employment opportunities for local population.
It is heartening to note that CPEC is progressing ahead despite adverse propaganda and conspiracies by some countries and it has entered into the second phase of implementation where focus would be on improvement of railway infrastructure, agriculture, IT and technology transfer.
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would surely attract investment and already dozens of Chinese companies and firms have made known their plans to invest in these zones.
China has also extended valuable support to Pakistan at regional and global forums especially on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
On its part, Pakistan has provided its steadfast support to China on issues like Taiwan, South China Sea, and human rights. Given the level of mutual trust and firm determination to foster bilateral ties in diverse fields, the relationship is destined to become even stronger with the passage of time.