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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has awarded the Hilal-e-Pakistan to the outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing in recognition of his services of further strengthening the Pakistan-China relationship in diverse fields. The special award ceremony was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Tuesday.

The ceremony was attended by Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, federal ministers and senior officials of the government of Pakistan.

Ambassador Yao Jing has served in Pakistan thrice in various capacities and in aggregate stayed in Islamabad for 11 years.

The president presented Ambassador Yao Jing with the country’s second-highest civil award, given to people for their meritorious contribution to the national interests of Pakistan.

Later, the ambassador called on the president and discussed matters pertaining to bilateral relations between the two countries. While talking to the ambassador, the president said that China was a close friend, which had always supported Pakistan on all issues of national interest.

Highlighting the economic and strategic significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the president said the corridor would increase regional connectivity, and countries of the region, particularly Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, would enormously benefit from it.

He emphasized the need for further strengthening defence cooperation between the two all-weather friends.

He added that Pakistan was looking forward to the visit of President Xi Jinping, which would further boost bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, and defense.

The president appreciated the efforts made by the outgoing ambassador for further promoting and solidifying bilateral relations. He said that many infrastructure and development projects were completed during the tenure of Yao Jing.

The ambassador assured that China would continue its efforts to promote peace and connectivity in the region.

He specially thanked the president for being the only Head of State to visit China during the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Ambassador Yao said Pakistan’s policy of “smart lockdown” in containing the Covid-19 was internationally recognised and could be followed as a model by others to deal with its possible second wave.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020