Chinese Delegation Visits Pakistan
Pakistan and China are strategic partners that have long since backed each other in their time of need. During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastating flood, the Chinese government stood firmly on the ground to help the Pakistani government. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative and was signed on April 20, 2015. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of this honorable collaboration, the Chinese vice premier and President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, He Lifeng, came to Pakistan on a three-day visit to participate in several events.
Vice Premier He Lifeng served as the Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission from 2017-2023, and due to this very reason, his efforts for the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative are commendable. He paid particular attention to industrialization and the energy sector in CPEC. Pakistan’s prime minister also recognized his status as a great member of a great nation and suggested that Pakistan is ready to contribute to the visions of Xi Jinping that will lead us toward glory and progress.
To mark the celebrations, the Chinese vice premier arrived in Islamabad and was welcomed by the finance minister of Pakistan, Ishaq Dar, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. After that, he was taken to the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. Upon meeting the president, they exchanged a warm gesture, and then the PM introduced him to his federal cabinet members, including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ahsan Iqbal, Saad Rafique, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Hina Rabbani Khar, and Tariq Fatemi.
After his arrival, a ceremony was held in which the president of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, conferred the Hilal-i-Pakistan award on the Chinese premier, who respectfully accepted this huge honor. The ceremony was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr and was attended by Federal Cabinet members, the Senate chairman, National Assembly members, and parliamentarians. It should be worth noting that this award is the second-highest civil award and is given to representatives of the state who have made commendable contributions to the national interests of the state. This moment marks the profound significance of strengthening the fraternal ties between the two nations.
National anthems of both nations were played at the start of the ceremony. After that, an MoU regarding six agreements was signed by both parties, in which the export exchange mechanism, protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of dry chilies, and report on the feasibility study of Karakoram Highway Phase-II realignment were the major agreeing points. Also, an agreement on the industrial workers exchange program along with the ML-1 project’s technical committee was signed in the ceremony.
CPEC Enters the Second Phase
In this very ceremony, the PM of Pakistan stated that this event is a cause of joy for many as it makes us move forward towards a better future. Also, talking about the investment, he said, “Under CPEC over $25 billion were invested in power, hydel, roads, and public transport.” According to him, we are entering the second phase of this very corridor that would include B2B investment in the fields of agriculture and information technology. The ML-1 project is Pakistan’s main railway track program that will connect the two major cities, Karachi and Peshawar. The PM hoped that this development would be executed in the future and would help in uniting the ties of both countries, while also making a strong strategic association between Karachi and Peshawar.
One thing worth appreciating is that the cultural show that was supposed to happen in this event was canceled in honor of the saddening loss of lives in the tragic terrorist attack in Bajaur on Sunday. The prime minister, in his tweet, revealed that this is not the time to celebrate, but a time to make everything simple. CPEC has been a source of merriment for many, and after a decade of hard work, it marks the success of the state as many more agreements have been signed. This will further influence the economic uplift of the state.
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