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ISLAMABAD: All the mainstream political parties of Pakistan on Friday displayed strong support to back the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as leaders reiterated their commitment to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries at the CPEC Pakistan-China Political Parties Forum and 3rd Meeting of CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultative Mechanism, held jointly by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee Liu Jianchao, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan.

Senate Chairman Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, Hina Rabbani Khar of PPP, Senator Syed Ali Zafar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Munazza Hassan of Istehkam Pakistan Party, National Party’s Senator Jan Muhammad, senior politicians Afrasiab Khattak and leaders of other political parties attended the moot.

In his speech, Ishaq Dar said during the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China, both sides showed unanimity to execute the second phase of CPEC besides signing the modalities for third-party participation in the projects.

China’s IDCPC minister due today

He maintained as the two countries were witnessing the second phase of CPEC, prioritising the agriculture, information technology, industry and mining and mineral sectors.

Dar reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to enhance people-to-people linkages with China to deepen the sentiments of mutual respect, trust and understanding between the two countries.

He said there was complete unanimity among all political parties here on CPEC’s importance for Pakistan’s economic growth and sustainable development.

The deputy prime minister said the CPEC is not merely a symbol of Pakistan-China friendship. It is a shining emblem of a new vision for international cooperation.

In his remarks on the occasion, Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Liu Jianchao said his country is determined to build the upgraded version of CPEC.

He further said that China and Pakistan would always stand shoulder to shoulder to forge a stronger and more solid all-weather strategic partnership.

Liu Jianchao said the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China would invite 300 representatives of political parties to visit the country in the next three years. He added they should create more platforms for China-Pakistan practical cooperation to better design our national development strategies.

He said we are also ready to work with the political parties of Pakistan to promote exchanges at different levels including the youth, media, think tanks and academia to pass on this friendship to future generations.

Liu Jianchao said both the countries enjoy a solid foundation and there are great prospects of synergising development strategies and strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation.

In his remarks, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said the government is committed to ensuring the security of Chinese personnel working in Pakistan, adding that measures have been implemented to provide foolproof security, and continuous updates are shared with the Chinese Embassy regarding these actions.

The Minister for Planning stressed that CPEC serves as a beacon of stability, regional integration, and economic interdependence.

He said the development of Gwadar Port, a crucial component of CPEC, was noted for its strategic significance, providing China direct access to the Arabian Sea and promising economic revitalisation for Pakistan. He said Phase II of CPEC aims to enhance Pakistan’s manufacturing capacity through industrial cooperation, attracting Chinese investment, and relocating industrial units to Special Economic Zones.

Ahsan Iqbal said the two countries have agreed to expedite initiatives for modernising Pakistan’s agricultural sector with advanced technologies.

Cooperation will also extend to B2B links, industrial cooperation, science and technology, artificial intelligence, and exploration of offshore oil and gas resources, he added.

Chairman Senate Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said all the political parties were committed to CPEC as it promoted collaboration in health, education, information technology and other sectors besides its contribution to addressing the power woes of the country.

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC ensured vigilant oversight of the government and followed up on the progress of the projects under CPEC through regular reporting to the Parliament of Pakistan.

He reaffirmed the resolve of the parliament, government, and people of Pakistan to build on past successes and in ensuring that CPEC reaches its full potential.

JUI-Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed gratitude to the Chinese leadership for their unconditional support of the Kashmir cause and reiterated Pakistan’s support on the Taiwan issue.

Minister for Federal Education Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Munazza Hassan called for an enhanced focus on education, information technology and artificial intelligence to harness the youth’s potential.

Syed Ali Zafar called for accelerating CPEC projects while Chairman of Pakistan-China Institute Mushahid Hussain Sayed reiterated the political parties’ commitment to take the CPEC-II forward.

He also proposed the formation of a rapid response information system to counter the fake news aimed at undermining the CPEC and Pak-China relationship.

National Party’s Senator Jan Muhammad called for technical training of Balochistan’s youth, while Afrasiab Khattak cautioned against the designs of the hegemonic forces in the region trying to disrupt peace.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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