ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that in an era of complex and profound changes at global and regional levels, all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China remained a strong anchor for peace, progress and prosperity.

Addressing the CPC and World Political Parties Summit virtually to mark the 100th anniversary of founding of Communist Party of China, he reiterated Pakistan’s support to China’s efforts for safeguarding world peace, contributing to global development and preserving the international order.

In the wake of emerging global and regional environment, the prime minister said Pakistan had recalibra­ted its priorities from geo-politics to geo-economics. China-Pakistan Econo­mic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), complements Pakistan’s rene­w­ed eff­orts of this geo-econo­mic shift with emphasis on economic integration and regio­nal connectivity, he added.

The summit was chaired by CPC General Secretary and President Xi Jinping and attended by more than 500 political parties and over 10,000 political workers/representatives from various parts of the world. About 21 world leaders also joined the summit.

The prime minister said the abiding friendship with China and the CPEC complemented the vision of peace for themselves and for others and shared prosperity and common development for the region and the world. “Pakistan and China are iron brothers. We support each other on issues of our respective core interests,” he added.

PM Khan, who participated in the summit at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, said the year also marked 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.

“Our two nations are celebrating this historic milestone in a befitting manner. I am confident that the year 2021 would provide new vigour and vitality to our time-tested friendship,” he observed.

The prime minister said the CPC’s mission of Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s vision of a Naya Pakistan reflected the respective aspirations of the people of the two countries. “Our two parties also share the spirit of struggle, commitment and fortitude,” he added.

Dilating upon his government’s major achievements, PM Khan said the Ehsaas Programme launched last year was one of the leading social protection programmes in Asia. In its second phase, the programme envisaged to provide social protection to eight million of the country’s poorest citizens, he added.

The prime minister said the government also made universal health coverage a priority in health sector reforms. Under the Ehsaas Sahulat programme, he said, free of cost health insurance would be initially provided to the families living below the poverty line, and subsequently to all remaining ones.

About the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project, Mr Khan said it reflected their commitment to countering environmental degradation and reversing biodiversity loss. “We are ready to contribute more than our share to protect this invaluable planet and help it heal from centuries of neglect.”

Moreover, he said, in line with his government’s Green Vision, which aligned perfectly with President Xi’s vision for green China, turning the CPEC into a green project “is a priority for Pakistan”.

The prime minister stressed the need for joining hands to advance the noble goals of peace and development, welfare of their peoples and building community of shared future for all mankind. “Our people deserve no less. Let’s help them fulfil their aspirations in fullest measure,” he emphasised.

The prime minister was of the opinion that the discourse in the summit would shed new light on the role of political parties in advancing the well-being of people.

He also extended heartfelt felicitations, on behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China. Founding of the CPC in 1921, he said, was a seminal event in the world history. The vision of the CPC leadership ignited the spirit of the Chinese nation and encouraged them to wage an epic struggle for liberation from foreign occupation, he observed.

The prime minister said Chairman Mao Zedong, and subsequently Deng Xiaoping, guided the Chinese people in reclaiming national dignity and China’s rightful place in the world. “For decades, the CPC’s spirit instilled new vigour and hope beyond Chinas borders. It inspired peoples of colonised nations and contributed to the end of colonial suppression. The CPC’s astonishing success rested in the people-centric approach of its development philosophy,” he said.

The CPC’s achievements of all-round national development, poverty alleviation, anti-corruption and nation-building are truly remarkable, he said, adding that the CPC continued to command deep love, loyalty and devotion of the Chinese people.

The prime minister said the CPC’s achievements had opened new vistas of thought for political parties across the world. The CPC, he said, had proven that attainment of political power was primarily meant for bringing a transformation in the lives of people and making them masters of their own destiny.

Indeed, political parties can only enjoy public support and legitimacy if they continue to serve the people selflessly, he observed.

The prime minister said President Xi’s visionary leadership played a pivotal role in China’s transformation and continued rise. His people-centric philosophy had made a critical difference as China had eliminated extreme poverty, achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society, and landed on the Mars, he added.

Mr Khan also appreciated President Xi’s vision of shared prosperity, through BRI, which made a major impact on global sustainable development, thus proving his credentials as a global statesman. Under President Xi’s stewardship, he added, China achieved major success in the people’s war against the Covid-19 pandemic. President Xi’s declaration of making Covid-19 vaccines a global public good was reflective of his sagacity, compassion and fairness, the prime minister observed.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2021

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