ISLAMABAD: Claiming credit for the concept of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan Peoples Party vice president Sherry Rehman has said that her party “remains wholly committed to, and will continue to make all possible efforts for the smooth and effective implementation of the project”.
Reviewing political parties’ ties with the Communist Party of China during a bilateral meeting between the two parties on their digital platform here on Saturday, the PPP leader said it was through multiple visits by the then president, Asif Ali Zardari, to Beijing that the groundwork was set for the CPEC, a flagship project of President Xi’s bold ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative for regional connectivity across the Eurasian landmass.
As a project that could connect multiple regions, she said, the CPEC would not only strengthen Pak-China ties, but also spur better relations between the countries in an evidently tense regional environment.
“The PPP is firm in its belief that the CPEC can act as a force multiplier for Pakistan and we will continue to work towards its optimal realisation to this end,” according to a press release.
Ms Rehman was emphatic in reminding all that it was under President Zardari’s leadership during the last PPP government that the stage was set to scale up the bilateral relationship between China and Pakistan and crucial milestones accomplished to advance durable economic and strategic cooperation between the two countries.
She said the PPP had also played a leading role in forging a political consensus on the significance of Pakistan’s relationship with China, including the historic awarding of Gwadar Port entry to Beijing to facilitate the broad vision of economic interdependence. As a result, she said, there was a national consensus in Pakistan “regarding
the primacy of our ties, reflected by how this relationship continues to be viewed as an all-weather friendship in both countries”.
On a discussion on the South China Sea, she said: “In an age of growing global changes, the PPP also supported China’s principled position on the South China Sea. We believe that disputes related to the South China Sea should be settled through a consultative process between stakeholders and negotiations based on bilateral agreements and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We respect the efforts made by China and other Asean countries to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea, and will continue to support such efforts.”
Ms Rehman said the PPP had always been, and remained committed to, cementing Pakistan’s relationship with the CPC and China.
“Our friendship with the People’s Republic and the Communist Party of China has only gained strength over successive generations of both the parties.
“It is true that Pakistan’s strategic relationship with China was conceived by former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, cultured by Benazir Bhutto, cemented by Asif Ali Zardari and would now enter a new phase of further cooperation with the younger cohort of leaders in both countries under Chairman Bilawal Bhutto,” she said.
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2016