Now is the time to further strengthen Pak-China friendship, says PM Kakar

Published October 20, 2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar addresses students at Xinjiang University in China’s Urumqi. — DawnNewsTV
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar addresses students at Xinjiang University in China’s Urumqi. — DawnNewsTV

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Friday that now was the time to further the friendship between Pakistan and China.

“In Pakistan, we say a good neighbour is a treasure. In this regard, we are very fortunate to have China as a good brother, good neighbour, good partner and a good friend.

“Now is the time to further strengthen this friendship. Together, let us chart a new course of peace, prosperity and win-win development,” Kakar said. He made the remarks while addressing students and faculty at Xinjiang University in China’s Urumqi.

A day earlier, the two countries had reiterated their resolve to further cement their partnership, with Kakar saying Islamabad would not allow anything to undermine the strategic partnership with Beijing.

Both sides renewed this pledge during a delegation-level meeting between the caretaker premier and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of People on the sidelines of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum.

“Our time tested ties have remained unaffected by vicissitudes of time. In Pakistan, we have a complete consensus across the political spectrum about the […] of Pak-China friendship for the progress and prosperity of our two countries, and regional peace and development,” he said.

“We view our ties with China from a strategic long-term perspective. In the ever-changing global landscape, China-Pakistan friendship is a constant and would always remain so,” he said.

“Building upon the success of our political ties, the two countries have placed special focus on our economic partnership manifested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he said.

Kakar said that CPEC was a “true example” of the Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) stated objectives. “It has helped us upgrade our transport and communication network, address energy shortages and develop Gwadar port in the province of Balochistan,” he said.

The premier said that CPEC projects had not only stimulated economic growth but had also improved the lives and the livelihood of Pakistani citizens while also enhancing regional connectivity.

Kakar then referred to a speech given by Xi last year about making Xinjiang the frontier of Belt and Road connectivity. “This announcement by President Xi was a recognition of Xinjiang’s historical role as a hub of connectivity as part of the ancient Silk Road,” he said.

He said that his visit to Xinjiang on the tenth anniversary of the BRI was happening at “an important juncture”. “It represents a profound milestone in the enduring friendship between Pakistan and China and the people of our two great nations,” the prime minister said.

“My visit signifies our commitment to promoting connectivity, not just in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of human connections. My visit is essentially about charting a new roadmap and envisioning a new future based on economic synergy and greater connectivity.

“The key element of Pakistan’s vision for cooperation with Xinjiang include reaffirmation of Pakistan’s principled position on Xinjiang and our unequivocal support to China on matters related to its core interest.”

He said that Pakistan aimed to utilise Xinjiang’s position as an important part of CPEC and its linkages with Pakistan. “We would jointly work to identify the respective strengths of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Xinjiang […] and building on our synergies for improving the livelihoods of the people of our region.”

He went on to say that as per the consensus reached during his visit to Beijing, the land border at Khunjerab would be converted into an all-weather border.

“We would like to upgrade customs and other logistic services to facilitate trade and movement of people. Gwadar is a key component of our CPEC partnership. I would propose that we deepen economic cooperation by affectively using the sister-city relationship between Karamay and Gwadar, and Kashgar and Gwadar.

“We seek to learn from Xinjiang’s success in agricultural modernisation. We would also aim to set up a joint agricultural demonstration zone in Pakistan to introduce modern farming techniques and practices. We also aim to develop linkages between industries of Xinjiang and Pakistan, especially GB region.”

Kakar said one particular area in this regard could be solar energy, a key sector in Xinjiang.

He said that Pakistan looked forward to promoting cultural cooperation and people-to-people connections with Xinjiang. “We invite more tourists from Xinjiang and other parts of China to visit tourist places in Pakistan,” he said.

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