PM Imran, Xi seek world help to rebuild Afghanistan

Published October 27, 2021
China's President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP/File
China's President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. — AFP/File

• PM appreciates Chinese relief, Covid-19 assistance for developing nations
• Congratulates Mirziyoyev on getting re-elected as Uzbek president
• Briefs Prince Charles on Pakistan’s climate change agenda

ISLAMABAD: In a joint appeal, Pakistan and China on Tuesday urged the international community to help the Afghan people as well as the new Kabul administration to rebuild the war-torn country.

The world attention was drawn by the two countries towards the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on telephone to wish him on the centenary of the Communist Party of China.

The two leaders also felicitated each other on the important milestone of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries, reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and discussed the regional and international situation.

Prime Minister Khan also telephoned President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and congratulated him on winning the presidential elections for the second term.

During their conversation, President Xi and PM Khan called on the international community to extend immediate humanitarian and economic assistance to the people of Afghanistan in order to alleviate their suffering, prevent instability and flight of people. They also asked the world to continue engagement with Kabul to rebuild Afghanistan.

The prime minister appreciated China’s successful containment of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as its relief and assistance measures for the developing countries, including vaccine cooperation with Pakistan.

Taking stock of the negative impact of coronavirus on global economy, the two leaders agreed on further strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties, including full realisation of the potential offered by Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, to overcome economic headwinds.

Mr Khan lauded the successful, timely and high-quality implementation of the CPEC projects and welcomed Chinese investments in the CPEC special economic zones.

He said early start of work on the ML-1 railway project would complement Pakistan’s geo-economic vision for national and regional development. He also appreciated China’s leading role in combating climate change and briefed President Xi on Pakistan’s wide ranging measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the ‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami’ initiative.

Both leaders agreed to strengthen Pakistan-China cooperation in relevant areas and promote CPEC’s green development as a high quality demonstration of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The prime minister highlighted the need to continue with the momentum of high-level exchanges to further diversify ‘All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ between the two countries.

He also renewed his invitation to President Xi to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

Pakistan and China are longtime allies and have sent humanitarian aid to Kabul over the past two months.

According to media reports, the Taliban government does not have access to the Afghanistan Central Bank’s $9 billion in reserves, most of which are held by the New York Federal Reserve.

Uzbek president felicitated

PM Khan called Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and congratulated him on winning the presidential elections for the second term.

He said this impressive victory once again reflected the trust and confidence of the people of Uzbekistan in President Mirziyoyev’s leadership.

The prime minister underlined the importance of enhanced trade and economic linkages and reiterated Islamabad’s support to the Trans-Afghan railway project to advance the agenda of regional connectivity.

The two leaders agreed to continue high-level interaction to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas, including economic, trade, investment, energy, security and education sectors.

In the regional context, Prime Minister Khan underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and timely completion of regional infrastructure projects.

He reiterated his invitation to the Uzbek president to visit Pakistan.

PM telephones Prince Charles

Prime Minister Khan also held a telephonic conversation with HRH Prince Charles on Tuesday.

They exchanged views on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26), scheduled to be held from Oct 31 to Nov 12 in Glasgow, the United Kingdom.

The prime minister appreciated the leading role being played by the UK as the president of COP-26 and expressed the hope that the conference would help translate political commitments into tangible actions and put in place ambitious, practical and effective climate action. He said every nation must play its due role in combating climate change in accordance with the principles of equity and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’.

While highlighting Pakistan’s full commitment to address environmental challenges, Mr Khan informed the Prince of Wales about Pakistan’s recent submission of its revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under Paris Agreement, with an ambitious target of 50 per cent overall reduction of projected greenhouse gases emissions by 2030.

He also briefed Prince Charles about Pakistan’s climate change agenda comprising landmark initiatives including the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Initiative, Protected Areas Initiative, Recharge Pakistan Initiative and Electric Vehicles and Alternative and Renewable Energy Policies.

In the regional context, the premier reiterated Pakistan’s interest in a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and urged the international community to provide the much-needed humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan to avert economic meltdown and sufferings of common people, especially at the onset of winter.

The Prince of Wales conveyed gratitude of the British government for Pakistan’s support and facilitation in evacuating its nationals and others from Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2021

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