LAHORE: The Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), in collaboration with the Centre for Chinese Legal Studies (CCLS) at Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law (SAHSOL) of Lahore University of Management Sciences jointly organised a special webinar on ‘Friends of Silk Road’ to celebrate 69 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.

Speakers in the webinar included Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, former Chinese minister Dr Zhao Baige and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain Syed. The webinar was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, executive director of PCI, and Prof Sikander Shah, director of CCLS.

Prof Shah introduced the vision for establishing domestic, regional and global synergies in the field of Chinese legal studies. Mr Sayed provided an overview of the institute’s activities, including its active cross-border engagement, and highlighted the anniversary of the Pak-China diplomatic ties.

The session began with a special documentary prepared by PCI on Pakistan and China’s 69 years of friendship.

The Chinese ambassador took the opportunity to rebut, what he referred to as, “disinformation and baseless allegations” levelled by US ambassador Alice Wells, who is retiring as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, saying that unlike the US, “China will be a partner to Pakistan, but never its teacher”.

He said the American attitude towards China, CPEC, and Pakistan-China relations was a combination of “arrogance, distortion and desire for hegemony”.

Ms Hashmi quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as telling President Arif Alvi during their meeting in Beijing on March 17 that Pakistan and China have a “unique, all-weather, strategic, cooperative partnership”. The future of Pak-China relations, beyond Covid-19, is brighter, stronger and more enduring.

Dr Baige said the future of Pak-China relations is bright because the future belonged to the youth of both countries, who were stakeholders in this relationship.

Mr Syed spoke of the Pakistan parliament and its members being staunch advocates of the Pak-China friendship.

He cited the Feb 12 and May 14 resolutions unanimously passed by the Senate expressing solidarity with China, lauding the leadership of President Jinping and rejecting the baseless propaganda against China.

Prof Uzair Kayani said there was a need for the global community to come together on all fronts to work towards a brighter tomorrow.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2020