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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday emphatically stated that nobody will be allowed to harm the iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China and the two will face every challenge together and emerge even stronger.

The foreign minister was addressing a solemn memorial service held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to honour the lives and services of the victims of the terrorist attack in Karachi University on 26 April 2022.

Three Chinese teachers, Huang Guiping, Ms Ding Mufang and Ms Chen Sai, as well as their Pakistani driver Khalid Nawaz, laid down their lives in the line of duty that day.

The memorial service was attended by Foreign Minister Bilawal, Chargé d’Affaires of the People’s Republic of China in Islamabad Pang Chunxue, senior Chinese officials and Chinese nationals from all walks of life in Pakistan. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attended the ceremony.

Bilawal laid floral wreaths in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice of the Chinese teachers and recorded his remarks in the Condolence Book.

In his address, the foreign minister reiterated his strong condemnation of the Karachi terrorist attack and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

He stated that the entire nation grieved with the families and people of China at this terrible loss, and offered his heartfelt condolences. He expressed his determination to not allow anyone to harm the iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China and underscored that the Pakistan-China ‘iron-brotherhood’ would continue to grow.

“The all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China is time-tested and timeless. As always, we will face every challenge together and emerge even stronger…” he added.

The foreign minister further stated: “I also avail myself of this opportunity to pledge complete safety and maximum security for our Chinese friends in Pakistan. You are our guests, and we are determined to ensure your safety and comfort in our country.”

He added that the government would not rest till it had given exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of the attack.

“I know every Pakistani is proud of our hospitality and gives importance to caring for friends. Not only do we know this, but we are also known for this internationally. Neither a Sindhi Pakistani nor a Baloch Pakistani can ever tolerate the terrorism that is directed at our guests,” he added.

He pointed out that in the last decade, the people of Pakistan witnessed that citizens were targeted using religion, adding that Baloch rights were used as an excuse for carrying out the terror attacks.

He stated that together, we have to ensure that we do not tolerate such terror attacks. “We will ensure that the families of these people and our public get justice,” he pledged.

“The country would succeed in its fight against terrorism and show the world that those who believed that they could attack Pakistan-China friendship would not succeed,” the foreign minister asserted.

The foreign secretary, in his remarks highlighted that the tragic deaths of innocent teachers had caused deep shock and anguish to every Pakistani, but this had not deterred our resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism. He underlined that Pakistan and China had always stood by each other and expressed the confidence that the two countries could counter any challenge working together in their long-standing spirit of mutual support and close cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, Cd’A Pang Chunxue thanked the government of Pakistan for organizing the memorial service. She appreciated the expression of solidarity and support by the entire Pakistani nation against the cowardly attack.

She vowed that the blood of the Chinese people in nurturing this timeless friendship will not be in vain, and that any attack aimed at the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Pakistan and China was doomed to fail.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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