• Meets Chinese envoy, discusses Afghan crisis
• Inaugurates Alien Registration Card, mobile vaccination pass, other projects
• Wants expats to be facilitated in sending remittances
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday stressed the need for closer cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad for early completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“It is a transformational project and thus Pakistan and China should work more closely on it to make it a high-quality demonstration project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” the prime minister said during his meeting with Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong in Islamabad.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan and Ambassador Nong Rong discussed bilateral relations, CPEC, Covid-19 vaccines as well as mutual cooperation in other sectors during the meeting.
“China-Pakistan cooperation in trade, commerce and investment, people-to-people contacts and mining and natural resources was also discussed,” the statement added.
The premier talked about the situation in Afghanistan, stressing that there was no military solution to the conflict.
“He reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to steadfastly support efforts for a negotiated political settlement,” the PM Office added.
Terming Pakistan and China “iron brothers”, Prime Minister Khan said “no hostile forces would be allowed to undermine the iron-clad friendship” between the two countries.
In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister Office said the envoy conveyed felicitations on Pakistan’s Independence Day as well as greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
For his part, PM Khan “warmly reciprocated” the greetings from the Chinese leaders, the statement added.
He appreciated China’s “consistent support” to Pakistan in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and provision of vaccines, including those through Covax facility.
Pakistan’s vaccination campaign against coronavirus had been launched earlier this year after China donated 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine. Since then, the country has received millions of vaccines from China in the form of donations as well as purchases.
Earlier this week, the Chinese ambassador had informed President Dr Arif Alvi that his country would provide 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to Pakistan by the end of this year.
PM for end of fake voters
Prime Minister Khan on Friday called for ending registration of fake voters to ensure free, fair and transparent general elections in 2023 that were acceptable to everyone.
“For the first time in the country’s history, the government would synchronise technology and data to eliminate any chances of fraud in general elections,” the prime minister said at the launch of various initiatives of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
PM Khan was received by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik on his arrival at the authority’s headquarters. Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib was also present.
The prime minister inaugurated the Alien Registration Card, Pak Covid-19 Mobile Vaccination Pass, national certification and renewal campaign and other projects, including setting up of 66 Nadra registration centres across the country and introducing 90 mobile registration vans.
Mr Khan said technology would be synced with data to end fake voters’ registration, adding that, “the results based on the free and transparent exercise would be acceptable to all.”
On the launch of the Alien Registration Card and work permit for foreigners, Mr Khan said it would bring a segment of people into social and financial mainstream.
He said over three million registered Afghan refugees would benefit from the facility, which would help them run their businesses in a legalised manner, adding that it was the government’s responsibility to facilitate the masses in every possible way.
The prime minister also inaugurated a system based on artificial intelligence to curb fake identity cards.
The system was designed within a short span of time by the newly-appointed Nadra chairman, which would help detect foreigners in the database.
Under the system, the head of the family will be able to verify details of his family members by simply sending an SMS and inform Nadra in case of any addition or deletion.
Earlier on his arrival at the Nadra headquarters, the prime minister reviewed the specially-designed mobile registration van – fully-equipped to provide services to people in the remote areas.
Mr Malik briefed the prime minister about various facilities in the van, which include data collection, fingerprint and photo scanning.
The Alien Registration Card and work permit will enable foreigners and their families to run businesses, get admission to private educational institutions, seek private employment, apply for mobile phone SIMs and utility connections, open bank accounts and get their vehicles registered.
The card holders will also be protected from legal action under the Foreigners’ Act.
The mobile application ‘Covid-19 Pass’ will immediately verify vaccination certificates by scanning the QR code on the document.
Meanwhile, PM Khan urged authorities to give all out benefits to overseas Pakistanis for sending ample remittances.
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2021