ISLAMABAD - China has once again assured Pakistan of its unwavering support irrespective of any change in the international political landscape.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, currently on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, has expressed his government’s firm resolve to stand by Pakistan in all odds, no matter what.
The message is loud and clear – to pursue the agenda of development and prosperity without taking into account international pressure, propaganda and challenges.
Vic President Wang Qishan is here to revive the spirit of ancient Silk Route and materialize the vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping through implementation of development projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and CPEC has come a long way in further cementing this bond. The project will add new impetus to development in Pakistan besides furthering the regional development,” said Wang Qishan, who launched four mega CPEC projects on first day of his visit on Sunday.
The newly launched 2 Es and 2 Ts projects related to – Energy, Education, Trade and Technology – carry a blueprint of achieving the agenda of sustainable prosperity.
In this connection, China has stepped in to help Pakistan meet its energy needs by laying a transmission line of 660kv between Matiari and Lahore to transmit power from coal-based plants located at Thar, Port Qasim and Hub. The project will have a capacity to supply 2,000 MW with 10 percent overloaded capability for two hours.
Also, the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (RSEZ) project, situated centrally in the CPEC at the junction of Karakoram Corridor and ML-1 development corridor, is aimed at promoting industrialization through optimally priced and world-class infrastructure.
Thus, the RSEZ is set to become a key trade and logistics hub connecting Kashgar, Kabul and Gwadar at the Belt and Road, and be a high-end host of international commercial, technological and manufacturing hub. In the domain of education, the Confucius Institute at the University of Punjab will teach Chinese language and promote cultural exchanges.
On technological front, the Huawei Technical Support Center to be established in Pakistan, is part of Chinese tech-giant’s commitment to make massive investment in Pakistan.
For the burgeoning Pak-China relations, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi gave credit to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s successive visits to China , which he believed, had paved way for a stronger collaboration with the government of China .
“Our government has a special focus on poverty alleviation, industrial development, education, technology, scientific innovation and agricultural development. Both China and Pakistan have a common agenda of improving the living standard of their people,” he said.
Qureshi has high hopes of achieving the development target under CPEC as the two countries move forward to mutually harnessing capabilities for the betterment of their peoples.
“The CPEC has entered into its second phase which focuses on industrial, social and economic cooperation. I am confident that the special economic zones will open new avenues for the progress of Pakistan,” he said.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was of the view that people-to-people relations between Pakistan and China were equally important besides their mutual journey of development.
“Strong people-to-people relations alongside the linkages and infrastructure between the two countries are significant and will prove beneficial in the interest of the two nations,” he said.
As witnessed by VP Wang Qishan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, the two countries also inked accords including framework agreement on agricultural cooperation, the memorandum on foot and mouth disease-free zone; the letter of exchange on disaster relief goods, the agreement between the China Machinery Engineering Corporation and the Balochistan government and Lasbela University.
Deputy Chief of Mission Chinese embassy in Islamabad Lijian Zhao is confident that the visit of Wang Qishan would help Pakistan and China to strengthen their bilateral relations in terms of CPEC and its implementation.
“Besides infrastructure development, China is also promoting people-to-people exchanges including 100-member youth exchange programme and encouraging Pakistani students in China to learn Chinese language for a deep-rooted connection,” he said.
May it the high-level visits or the people-to-people linkages, the story of ancient Silk Route will go a long way to be transformed into CPEC – a silk connection beyond iron strength.