• Says Communist Party of China offers alternative model to democracy
• Rules out taking sides in rivalry between great powers

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said as Pakistan had relations based on trust with China, it would accept the Chinese version on Uighurs in Xinjiang.

In reply to a question about western media reports on Xinjiang during an interview with Chinese media at the PM House, he said western press hardly reported massive human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where nine million people had been put into an open prison.

The prime minister said that IIOJK had been turned into a police state with extrajudicial killings, imprisonments and ban on media, yet there was hardly any adverse comment in (western) media. “This is what Pakistan finds very hypocritical.”

Answering another question, the prime minister said the Communist Party of China (CPC) offered a unique and alternative model to democratic system.

He said the CPC had introduced an efficient system of sifting talent and grooming it up which was more remarkable than electoral democracy.

Mr Khan also appreciated the flexibility in the system of the CPC to adopt changes and mend its policies according to the needs which had led to rapid development of China.

He said having gone through political process from village level to national level, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang were well aware of the people’s problems.

“This is something unique for China. You don’t see this in many … electoral democracies.”

Mr Khan said Pakistan would not take sides in great power rivalry and would never accept any pressure to either change or downgrade its relations with China, as the neighbouring country had always stood by Pakistan in its difficult times.

“If pressure is exerted on Pakistan to change its relations or downgrade its ties with China, it would not happen. We think that it is unfair of the US and Western powers to expect countries like Pakistan to take sides.”

The prime minister said: “Relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep. It’s not just the governments, but its people-to-people relationship. Whatever will happen, relationship between our two countries, no matter what pressure is put on us, is not going to change.”

Responding to a query, Mr Khan said the US-China rivalry was worrying for the world as it could divide the world just like the cold war as well as during war against terrorism. He attributed the US-China rivalry to the fear of China’s economic dominance.

“You see a strange great power rivalry in the region. The United States is wary of China and has formed a regional alliance called the ‘Quad.”

Prime Minister Khan said the idea that India was supposed to act as counter balance to China would be “detrimental” for the former. “China is too strong. India will reap far greater benefits by engaging in trade with China rather than trying to act as a counter balance. If anyone is going to lose out, it will be India,” he added.

He said Pakistan’s relationship with China had nothing to do with India. “Our relationship is a bilateral relationship. It is extremely strong.”

The prime minister said whenever Pakistan was in trouble, politically or internationally, or had a conflicts with its neighbour, China always stood with it.

“You remember friends who stand with you in all times. In good times, everyone stands with you but in difficult, tough, and bad times, you remember those people who stood by you.”

About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the CPEC was the biggest thing happening in Pakistan and where its economic future was moving to. Under the second phase of the CPEC, Pakistan would attract Chinese industry to the Special Economic Zones as well as Chinese agricultural technology to achieve higher productivity, he added.

The prime minister said cultural relations between Pakistan and China were not at par with the political ones and the “idea behind today’s meeting is to improve these relations”.

Felicitating China and the Communist Party of China on the CPC’s 100th anniversary, Imran Khan said Pakistan considered President Xi Jinping as one of great statesmen of modern world for his commitment to fighting corruption, establishing rule of law and steering around 700 million people out of poverty.

Commenting on the Covid-19 situation, he said the way China had dealt with the pandemic was unique. He thanked China for helping Pakistan, donating vaccine to it and helping it stand out in the region.

The prime minister also spoke high of President Xi Jinping’s environment-friendly initiatives, including developing an exclusive city with environment-friendly features.

Commenting on Afghan situation, the prime minister said the US had made the biggest mistake by trying to find out a military solution.

“Afghans have a history that they cannot be dictated from outside. They do not like to be controlled from outside, this is history.”

He said the moment the Americans gave the date of exit, Taliban considered it a victory. He said in this situation, it was difficult to bring them back to a political settlement.

If a civil war took place in Afghanistan, Pakistan would suffer the most, after Afghanistan, he feared.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2021

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