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Pakistan

Meeting with President Xi has given impetus to bilateral ties, CPEC projects: PM Imran

  • Says Islamabad wants to maintain relations with all and would not become a part of any camp
Published February 13, 2022

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership during his recent visit to the country have further added strength to the time-tested ties, and would accelerate the pace of work on ongoing projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the state-run news agency, APP, reported on Sunday.

During his interaction with a number of former ambassadors and representatives of think tanks, the prime minister said that his recent visit to China was very relevant with regard to the fast-changing global political map.

"I met with President Xi Jinping after a period of two years since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. These bilateral meetings strengthened ties between the two countries, and added further impetus to the CPEC projects," he said, completely dismissing the impression that pace of work on these projects had been slow.

Pak-China relations strained due to incompetent govt: Fazl

Federal ministers and PM’s special assistants were also present during the interaction.

The prime minister said that the Chinese leadership had appreciated his government’s steps to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic indicators which were positive, he said, adding they reaffirmed economic support to Pakistan through specific projects.

To a question, the prime minister said the strategic direction of his government was very clear. They wanted to maintain relations with all and would not become a part of any camp.

About Afghanistan, the prime minister said the international community had a consensus over this issue.

"Europe and all the neighbouring states of Afghanistan agreed to avoid humanitarian crises there and stressed upon de-freezing of Afghan’s assets. The US also understood and realised the situation. All had consensus that steps should be taken so that Afghanistan should not be descended into chaos," he added.

Referring to the functioning of the Chinese government, the prime minister said when a decision was taken, it was implemented, but in Pakistan, they lacked such synergy among the federal and provincial governments.

"In China, the whole country has worked towards wealth creation," he said, adding that all the hurdles in Special Economic Zones (SMEs) would be removed.

"During the last three and half years, the government has navigated from the ‘minefield’ of economic challenges," he said, adding that due to the government’s prudent policies, the country was witnessing growth rate, record tax collections, revenue generation, and remittances, which indicated that the country’s economy had been moving in the right direction.

Chinese companies want to undertake several projects in Pakistan: SAPM on CPEC Affairs

To another question, the prime minister opined that unless he had a two-thirds majority in parliament, he could not enact legislation to bring in various reforms in the society, stressing that there was a requirement for huge reforms.

"These pieces of legislation, sometimes, stuck up in the parliament or in the Senate," he maintained. He said in China, they had meritocracy and rule of law, and about 400 ministerial-level people had been held accountable over corruption charges which had increased the popularity of President Xi.

To a query, he replied that he had met Russian President Putin in Bishkek. After his tweet about the negative use of freedom of speech to hurt Muslims’ feelings, they held a telephonic conversation in which the Russian president conveyed that there was no Islamophobia in Russia and a central mosque in Moscow was fully functional.

Speaking at the occasion, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the prime minister’s meeting with President Xi “was marked with great outstanding.”

“The clarity I witnessed over such meetings had not happened in the past which was another encouraging sign,” he added.

The foreign minister further said the leadership of the two countries conveyed clear messages over the core issues. They removed certain concerns over CPEC projects which were not based upon facts. Spoilers had been playing their part, he added.

On the Afghanistan issue, Pakistan and China shared unanimous views, Qureshi said, adding as there had been close coordination and collaboration between the two countries.

Furthermore, they had agreed on a future roadmap. A meeting of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, besides a trilateral meeting of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan would be soon convened to expedite efforts to avert humanitarian crises in Afghanistan.

Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin said that China had helped in building infrastructure and connectivity projects under CPEC and now they would support the establishment of SEZs so that trickle-down effects could be fully reaped.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, comparing the number of CPEC projects under the incumbent governments with the previous one, said now the number of working groups had been increased to 11, they had completed 7 projects in the last three years besides, completion of 453kms roads projects was achieved. A further investment of $3.45 billion had been made.

He further said that 3 new projects had been added, the power generation stood around 3,340 MW in 2018 which had now increased to 5,864 MW during the last three and half years.

“Not a single transmission line was added by the previous government, but we have installed 880kms new transmission lines,” he added.

Pakistan wants to set up a ‘semiconductors zone’ with Chinese help, says Fawad

Earlier, Chaudhry told Economicnet that Islamabad had proposed a plan to build a semiconductors zone with the help of China, giving Pakistan self-sufficiency in modern gadgets and opening new avenues for development.

In an interview with the Chinese publication, he said that during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, they discussed the shifting of the semiconductors industry to Pakistan as the role of this technology was very important not only for Pakistan but for China as well.

“We want Chinese tech companies to come to Pakistan and make Pakistan a hub of semiconductors manufacturing,” he added.

Fawad also served as a Federal Minister for Science and Technology and during that tenure, he signed many MoUs and agreements on semiconductors technology and also collaborated with China to train Pakistanis in semiconductors skills.

“We would also like to start semiconductor designing in Pakistan. I’m very happy to tell you that Chinese investors are very keen to join hands with Pakistan and the technology zone will be converted into a semiconductor zone,” he mentioned.

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