Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri met Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Xing on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest, chief among them the treatment of the Xinjiang Muslim community.
"Pakistan's friendship with China is above and beyond any political agenda, the roots of which lie deep within the people," said Qadri.
The federal minister remarked that the CPEC was a matter of national priority and expressed full confidence in it.
Moving onto more urgent matters, Qadri spoke about the Muslims facing numerous restrictions in China's Xinjiang province and demanded that they be given relaxations.
"The placement of restrictions increases the chances of an extremist viewpoint growing in reaction," the minister told the Chinese ambassador, asserting that concrete steps need to be taken to weed out such a mindset and promulgate interfaith harmony.
The two also discussed talks between religious scholars belonging to Xinjiang and Pakistan.
"The Chinese government is the bearer of Sufi and moderate thought and resolves to sort the differences between various religious groups," said the Chinese ambassador.
He invited Qadri for a visit to China which the federal minister accepted.
The Chinese ambassador also provided assurances to facilitate the visit of a Pakistani religious delegation to the Xinjiang province.
"Exchange of viewpoints between religious scholars of both countries is vital for better interfaith relations," Xing remarked.
He said that there were 20 million Muslims living in China who enjoyed complete freedom to practice their faith.
"Pakistan is an important representative of the Muslim world and we want to further strengthen Pak-China relations on an Islamic level," Xing said adding that they will take the Muslim community living in China into confidence for achieving the same.
He expressed China's interest in working with Pakistan to develop an educational curriculum for the Muslim community.
"With Pakistan's cooperation, China desires to work for the social development of the former Fata region and Afghan migrants," he added.