ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan will not accept any pressure to either change or downgrade its relations with China. In an interview with the Chinese media, the prime minister categorically stated that if pressure was put on Pakistan to change its relations or downgrade its ties with China, it would not happen.
“Relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep, it’s not just the governments, but it’s people to people relationship,” he added. “Whatever will happen … relationship between our two countries, no matter what pressure is put on us, is not going to change,” the Prime Minister said in response to a question. He mentioned the US-sponsored regional alliance – ‘Quad’ – and said it was part of great power rivalry in the region that could create problems.
“Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the US and other Western powers… [to ask] … for countries like Pakistan to take sides. Why should we take sides? We should have a good relationship with everyone,” he remarked.
The prime minister said when Pakistan had been in trouble politically or internationally or had conflicts with its neighbour, China always stood with it. The people of China have a special place in the hearts of the people of Pakistan, he said. “You remember friends who stand with you in all times. In good times, everyone stands with you but in difficult, tough, and bad times, you remember those people who stood by you.”
The prime minister in response to another question, said the relationship between the two countries grew stronger politically and both have stood together at the international fora. Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan and China enjoyed a ‘very special relationship’ spanning over 70 years of friendship and nothing could change these time-tested ties. About China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the CPEC is ‘the biggest thing happening in Pakistan’, and where its economic future was moving.
The prime minister said the cultural relations between Pakistan and China were not at par with the political ones and “ideas behind today's meeting is to improve this relation.”
Felicitating the Communist Party of China on its 100th anniversary, Imran Khan said Pakistan considered President Xi Jinping as one of great statesmen of modern world for his commitment to fighting corruption, establishing rule of law and steering hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. He said besides the political ties, Pakistan has also resolved to strengthen economic relations with China as under the second phase of CPEC, Pakistan would attract Chinese industry to the Special Economic Zones as well as Chinese agricultural technology to achieve higher productivity.
He told the Chinese media that a committee had been formed to oversee the CPEC projects and ensure the removal of impediments. For the very purpose, he is scheduled to visit Gwadar next week to oversee the projects, he added. Prime Minister Khan said he also looked forward to his visit to China soon to strengthen the political and economic ties. To a question, the prime minister said the CPC is a unique and alternate model parallel to the electoral democratic system. He said the CPC introduced an efficient system of sifting talent and grooming it up which was more remarkable than the electoral democracy.
Imran Khan also appreciated the flexibility in the system of CPC to adopt changes and mend its policies according to the needs which led to the quick development of China. He said having gone through the political process from village level to the national level, both Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang are well aware of the people’s problems.
“This is something unique for China. You don’t see this in many other electoral democracies,” he remarked. Asked about the rivalry between the US and China, the prime minister said there is fear of China’s economic dominance. “Everyone has to admire what Xi Jinping has done. Leaders’ achievements speak for themselves,” he said.
Commenting about COVID-19 situation, he said the way China has dealt with the pandemic is unique. He thanked China for helping Pakistan and donating vaccine to it and help it stand out in the region.
To a question about the western media reports on Xinjiang, Imran Khan said as Pakistan has relations based on trust with China, it would accept the Chinese version on their programme in Xinjiang.
Calling it “very hypocritical,” the prime minister said, the western media hardly reports massive human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where nine million people have been put into an open prison.
He said IIOJK has been turned into a police state with extrajudicial killings, imprisonments and ban on media “and yet there is hardly any adverse comment on (western) media… This is what Pakistan finds very hypocritical.”
To a question, the prime minister said, the idea of India going to counterbalance China was detrimental for India. India would get far more trade benefits from China than from counterbalancing it. “The country which will lose it will be India. The relations between Pakistan and China have nothing to do with India,” he said.
The prime minister also spoke high of President Xi Jinping’s environment-friendly initiatives including developing an exclusive city with environment friendly features.
Responding to another query, Imran Khan said the China-US rivalry is worrying for the world as it could divide the world just like the Cold War as well as during the Global War against terrorism.
Commenting on the Afghan situation, the prime minister said the US made the biggest mistake by trying to find a military solution.
He said: “Afghanistan has history. They cannot be dictated from outside. They do not like to be controlled from outside, this is history”.
He said the moment the Americans gave the date of exit, Taliban considered it a victory. He said in this situation, it is difficult to bring them back for a political settlement. He said in case a civil war breaks out place in Afghanistan, Pakistan will suffer the most after Afghanistan.