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ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong meets Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to bid farewell at the PM Office on Friday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong meets Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to bid farewell at the PM Office on Friday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong gave on Friday a detailed briefing to members of the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and presented Beijing’s perspective and objectives behind the $56 billion project.

The briefing was held at Parliament House where the ambassador was invited to pay tribute to his services to promote China-Pakistan relations during his four-year stay in the country.

In reply to a question from the committee member Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the ambassador said that peace was like oxygen for development and that was why China believed in partnership, dialogue and cooperation in promoting connectivity among countries.

He said all issues left over by history, like Kashmir, should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.

He described terrorism as the common enemy of humanity and said this menace must be confronted collectively.

The committee presented a special plaque to the ambassador in recognition of his services to the CPEC and strengthening of Pakistan-China ‘all weather friendship’.

Mr Sun said that Pakistan-China people-to-people exchanges and contacts were being broadened and more than 200,000 visitors from both countries visited each other’s country last year while there were 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China at present, including 5,000 on official scholarships.

He also referred to 19 CPEC-related early harvest projects, particularly those in the energy sector, which had contributed to production of 1,820MW of electricity, thereby reducing loadshedding duration across the country.

“A fruit of CPEC is already evident that it helped resolved Pakistan’s chronic power shortage,” he said.

The Chinese ambassador said that plans were afoot for convening the 7th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) — the apex decision-making body on the CPEC. Among the projects to be discussed by the committee were metro bus projects in all provincial capitals, construction of Gwadar international airport, upgrade of Pakistan Railways line between Karachi and Peshawar and building of nine industrial parks.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, eulogised services and contribution of Ambassador Sun Weidong.

He claimed that there was a national consensus on the CPEC among all political forces and provinces of Pakistan because the project benefited the country and its people.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2017