ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shehryar Khan Afridi on Sunday proposed formation of a trilateral parliamentary committee to help counter-terrorism efforts in China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mr Afridi visited the Chinese embassy’s deputy chief of mission (DCM) Shi Yuanqiang and conveyed his commiserations over the loss of precious lives in the recent terrorist attack on Chinese engineers. Besides, he conveyed a message of sympathy from the founding chairman of PTI and former prime minister Imran Khan.

As per the PTI media wing, Shi Yuanqiang expressed gratitude to the PTI chief and Mr Afridi for visiting the embassy and offering condolences.

The deputy chief of mission noted that China highly valued the efforts of the Pakistani government and its people in providing support and protection to Chinese workers and companies.

PTI leader Shehryar Afridi meets Chinese deputy chief of mission, offers condolence over death of Chinese engineers in Bisham

“China and Pakistan are iron friends, and the terrorist attacks would only strengthen the resolve of China and Pakistan to fight the menace of terrorism strongly,” Mr Yuanqiang said.

During the meeting, Mr Afridi stated that China and Pakistan enjoyed an iron brother bond, and this bond would further cement with each passing day, adding that “neither terrorism nor conspiracies can dent the trust and brotherhood between China and Pakistan; rather, these acts only strengthen the resolve of the people and governments of both countries to fight the menace of terrorism”.

Mr Afridi further expressed that poverty was a major issue.

“Due to rampant poverty, lack of infrastructure and lack of employment opportunities in bordering areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, terrorists misled the public and managed to attack Pakistani security forces and Chinese installations,” he said.

The PTI leader said terrorists attacked Chinese engineers in Bisham despite the fact that the Chinese engineers had sacrificed everything and came to Pakistan to help build infrastructure and dams for the uplift of the Pakistani people.

Mr Afridi urged Chinese and Pakistani governments to focus on the development of infrastructure in bordering areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan and educate and employ youth, as education and employment could help fight the menace of terrorism in far-flung and under-developed tribal areas.

Mr Afridi also called for cementing bonds between the lawmakers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, saying that a trilateral parliamentary committee may be formed so that the elected representatives of three countries may work together to help spread awareness among the public and also make the counter-terrorism efforts effective.

Shehryar Khan Afridi registered his condolences in the condolence book kept at the embassy. The Chinese embassy counsellor, Yang Nuo, was also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2024

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