ISLAMABAD: In order to meet energy requirement of the country, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Tuesday invited China to invest in solar parks to help reduce Pakistan’s energy import bill and support the country’s fight against climate change.
“Investments in solar parks would benefit two-fold. On one hand, they will support Pakistan’s endeavours for climate action and also help reduce energy import bill,” the PM said while addressing 3rd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation conference in China.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on the sidelines of the conference, the caretaker PM met several world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The prime minister expressed Pakistan’s desire to learn from China’s models for building industrial parks and special economic zones.
Caretaker PM Kakar meets Xi, Putin among other leaders on sidelines of BRF moot
Terming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a manifestation of strategic cooperation, PM Kakar said the project symbolises coordinated efforts of the two countries to bring their economic and trade ties at par with each other.
He highlighted that China and Pakistan enjoyed a time-tested relationship based on mutual trust and shared interests. “Despite international politics, our friendship has remained steadfast.”
He said there was no bilateral relation more important for Pakistan than its friendship with China.
“This special relation enjoys across-the-board national consensus in Pakistan,” he said.
The project also symbolises the two countries’ excellent political relations, he added.
“For Pakistan, CPEC is a transformative project central to advancing our national agenda to sustainable development,” the premier continued, adding that the geo-economic landscape of the country — from Gilgit-Baltistan to the deep sea ports of Karachi and Gwadar — was transformed in the last few years due to CPEC.
PM Kakar said the country’s infrastructure was upgraded and the potential of the large youth population was unleashed due to CPEC. “It is already proving to be a catalyst for job creation, poverty alleviation, and rural revitalisation, giving strength to the vulnerable and less privileged, apart from reaching the remote sections of society,” he added.
“I myself come from Balochistan, an underdeveloped province of Pakistan, and generally believe that CPEC is a beacon of development, progress, and prosperity for the people of my province.”
Open to partnerships
PM Kakar announced that Pakistan was open to “drawing new partners who wish to join us in availing benefits from CPEC”.
“Since the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, Pakistan has added 800km of roads and motorways into our network injecting more than 8,000MW of energy and generating more than 2,000 new jobs for our people,” Mr Kakar said.
Attends state banquet
Later in the evening, the prime minister attended a state banquet, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, for world leaders participating in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum.
In a post on X (erstwhile Twitter), the premier said he received an “incredibly warm welcome” from President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan.
PM Kakar was accompanied by senior ministers of his cabinet, the PMO stated.
Held at the iconic Great Hall of the Peoples, the banquet was attended by the heads of state/government of Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and several other world leaders.
Defence, trade ties with Russia
At their meeting, PM Kakar and Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasised exploring ways to further enhance bilateral cooperation in multiple spheres, including trade and defence.
They highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, besides discussing matters related to regional peace and security.
In his opening remarks, the prime minister said Pakistan and Russia had a convergence of interests on the issue of terrorism, and called for enhanced cooperation and a common approach among the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan.
He said the neighbouring countries should be the foremost to take the initiative and cooperate in the fields of intelligence, defence and counter-terrorism.
About bilateral cooperation, the premier said Pakistan was an energy-deficient country of 240 million population. Recently the energy minister had attended an energy week event in Russia, where he had a “fruitful and constructive engagement” with the Russian team.
In his remarks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Pakistan and Russia celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.
Citing friendly bilateral relations, he said there existed a huge potential for cooperation between Pakistan and Russia.
President Putin said both sides during interactions here would discuss the vision, and steps needed to be taken to strengthen cooperation in multiple areas. He said trade relations between the two countries had increased and this year, Russia had supplied around a million tonnes of cereals to Pakistan.
Arshad Sharif murder probe
Mr Kakar also met Kenyan President Dr William Ruto and discussed bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. They reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing bilateral relations in the areas of trade, investment, education and people-to-people contact.
APP, Pakistan’s official news agency, reported that the caretaker prime minister also sought facilitation from Kenyan president over the finalisation of the investigation into the case of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead on Oct 23, 2022 during his stay in Kenya.
Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2023