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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have agreed to formation of a joint parliamentary committee comprising members from Pakistan’s Parliament and the National People’s Congress for effective oversight of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

The decision has been taken in a meeting arranged through video link with Chairman National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu, here on Wednesday. Both the presiding officers directed their respective Secretariats to take necessary steps for constitution of joint a parliamentary committee for oversight of the CPEC.

Both the leaders agreed for enhancing parliamentary cooperation through interaction at standing committees level as well as at the Parliamentary Friendship Group.

They agreed for an interactive virtual meeting of members National Assembly and National People’s Congress in commemoration of the 71st anniversary of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations. They also reiterated invitations to each other to visit Pakistan and China at their convenience.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Chairman National Peoples Congress of China agreed to formation of a joint parliamentary committee comprising members from Pakistani Parliament and the National People’s Congress for effective oversight of CPEC.

They were of the opinion that enhanced economic cooperation would give impetus to the existing bilateral relations through parliamentary and economic cooperation.

During the meeting, Speaker Asad Qaiser was accompanied by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, chairman CPEC committee Sher Ali Arbab, Chairman Foreign Affairs Committee Ehsanullah Tiwana, Convener Pak-China Friendship Group Noor Alam Khan, and other members of the National Assembly, whereas, chairman National People’s Congress (NPC) was accompanied by deputy speaker NPC and chairmen of the committees on foreign affairs and law. This virtual meeting is the first high-level contact between the two presiding officers after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaker Asad Qaiser said that Pakistan considered China its closest friend, staunchest partner, and an iron brother. He congratulated his Chinese counterpart on the 71st anniversary of Sino-Pak diplomatic relations and Chinese New Year.

The speaker said that Pakistan strongly believed in the territorial integrity of China and fully supported One China policy. He said that Pakistan valued Chinese support on international and regional forums.

He said that Kashmir being the bleeding wound on the map of the world needed international attention for mitigation of miseries of Kashmiri people and fulfilment of international commitment. He said that China’s unequivocal support on Kashmir issue was valued by people and the government of Pakistan.

Chairman National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu said that China also considered Pakistan one of its brothers and closest strategic ally.

He said that China would always stand by Pakistan for its defence and maintaining territorial integrity. He said that Covid-19 was devastating for China as well as the world; however, support of Pakistan specially the parliament had boosted the Chinese moral to fight that disease. He assured the speaker that provision of Covid-19 vaccine was the top most priority of the Chinese government.

Speaker Asad Qaiser said that the CPEC was undoubtedly lifeline for economic development of Pakistan, and a mechanism had been devised for ensuring security of the CPEC projects. He said that any attempt to disrupt activity under the CPEC would not be tolerated.

He said that activity under the CPEC had gained momentum and the Rasakai Special Economic Zone would be functional soon which would generate economic activity besides providing employment particularly in the KPK province and the country in general. He said that the legislative interaction should continue virtually till the Covid-19 disease fizzled out.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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