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‘Complete harmony on CPEC project’

Updated March 19, 2016

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Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong speaks at the book launch on Friday. — INP
Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong speaks at the book launch on Friday. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Calling it a “game-changer”, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said all the reservations regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been dealt with.

“All the political parties and leaders from the western routes are on the same page. There is complete harmony on this project,” the minister said.

He was speaking at the launch of a book titled China’s Stories China’s Success – How China Transformed in the Past 40 Years by Sultan M. Hali, held at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Friday.

The book is a selection of published articles by former Group Captain S.M. Hali, which cover his personal experiences spanning over four decades – from 1974 to 2015.

All the speakers at the ceremony hailed Mr Hali’s work, calling the text a good source of information on Sino-Pak relations and the success China achieved in the last four decades.

Discussing progress on the CPEC project, Mr Iqbal said Pakistan is not only meeting the timeline but is “a little ahead” of the timeline. He said that all the political parties were working as a united force to make CPEC successful.

Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong said China and Pakistan have unique diplomatic relations, which have “grown up and up”. The ambassador said China achieved development and economic growth targets using a simple technique: consistency.

“Targets are always there, we achieve the targets with consistency,” Mr Weidong said and added that there are three key factors – development, reforms and stability – important to improving the standard of any country. “Success can’t be achieved without these three factors,” he said. He said China also paid special attention to discipline, solidarity among all ethnic groups and undertaking measures to fight corruption.

ISSI director general, former diplomat Masood Khan, called CPEC a “success story”. He said China is a strong country and will get stronger in the decades to come. The former Pakistani ambassador to China said that without political stability, solidarity and peace, no country could achieve success.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said China is Pakistan’s time-tested ally, and had always supported Pakistan. He called the 21st century the “Asian century” and predicted that China would play a leading role in this century. “In the changing scenario, development has started shifting from West to East,” the senator said.

ISSI chairperson and former ambassador Khalid Mahmood said that the Chinese leadership had turned around its economy, and said Pakistan and China’s friendship was based on mutual trust – which he believed to be “remarkable”.

The author of the book, Mr Hali, said the people of China and Pakistan love each other and share each other’s grief and happiness.

He said that even when China was still developing it helped Pakistan during the 1965 and 1971 wars. “During my visits to China, I always felt the genuine love and warmth of the Chinese people for my identity as a Pakistani.”

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2016