‘Internal stability essential for development’, Chinese minister tells Pakistan political parties

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Chinese official

ISLAMABAD, JUN 21: A senior Chinese official on Friday advised Pakistani political leadership to shun differences as “internal stability is imperative for any nation to develop”.

“In a turbulent world of rising uncertainties, stability within the country is essential for development. Faced with complex internal and external challenges, Pakistan is navigating carefully through turbulent rivers,” Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) Liu Jianchao said.

Jianchao made the remarks as he co-chaired — along with Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar — the third meeting of the Pakistan-China Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) of the Political Parties on the CPEC.

Leaders belonging to all major political parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), were present during the event.

PTI’s Barrister Ali Zafar and Raoof Hasan, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Emir Fazlur Rehman, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, and other top leaders were in attendance.

Pakistan and China enjoy close relations with Bejing also investing billions of dollars in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and working in various sectors to boost Islamabad’s capabilities.

However, the works on the flagship project have been hindered in recent years due to the security situation with China informing the Pakistani side of its reservations.

The Chinese official said that there can be sustainable development only when all political parties in a country join hands to ensure political and social stability.

“And for all these years, China has always been striving hard to maintain a good balance of reform, development, and stability — each of the three fundamentals is indispensable.”

‘Business environment cannot improve without security’
The minister noted that over the years, CPEC has boosted Pakistan’s economic and social development. However, he said that more efforts need to be made, especially when it comes to security.

“We are ready to build the upgraded version of CPEC […] we need to improve security and business environment. Security threats are the main hazards disturbing CPEC cooperation,” he highlighted.

In the case of Pakistan, he said, the primary factor shaking the confidence of Chinese investors is the security situation. “Without security, the business environment cannot really improve, which can undermine development in the long run.”

At the same time, he also appreciated the Pakistani security forces for their services in this regard.

Moving on, the senior official said that due to the wholehearted support of the people of both nations, Pakistan and China have become “iron friends”. “Public support is the bedrock of the China-Pakistan relationship.”

However, voicing fears, he said that the mutual affinity between the people of the countries is still not commensurate with the iron-clad friendship of the countries.

“In particular, there’s a rising risk of Western social media which has a huge impact on the younger generation, eroding the foundation of the China-Pakistan friendship,” Jianchao said.

He said the Chinese government was ready to promote exchanges between the youth, media, think tanks, academics, and local governments, and help the public understand the friendship better.

Dar vows to enhance people-to-people linkages
In his remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister 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.

Dar said Pakistan-China friendship is a relationship of the past, the present, and the future. He said the strategic trust between the nations is unshakeable and nothing can undo it.

The deputy prime minister said this meeting is a manifestation of a shared commitment to preserve and protect this relationship from the vagaries of national, regional, and international politics.

Dar said there is complete unanimity amongst all political parties in Pakistan 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.

He said the people of Pakistan will never forget China’s support in crucial times.

Referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to China, Dar said there was renewed consensus on upgradation of the corridor project. He said we are prioritising industry, modern agriculture, Information Technology and mining and minerals.