China’s role pivotal for peace in ‘Asian century’: Committee on CPEC

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) which was held in the Parliament House Friday, honoured the outgoing Ambassador of China, Sun Weidong with a presentation of a special plaque in recognition of his services to CPEC and strengthening Pakistan-China ‘all weather friendship’.

The meeting, which began with the recitation of the Holy Quran, first heard welcome remarks from the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, eulogizing the services and contribution of Ambassador Sun Weidong during his 4 year tenure, marked by the launch and successful implementation of CPEC.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also referred to the contribution of Ambassador Sun Weidong’s father, who served in the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan from 1952-58 and he said that their family had served Pakistan-China friendship from ‘generation to generation.’

Senator Mushahid Hussain said that there was a complete national consensus on CPEC amongst all the political forces and provinces of Pakistan because CPEC benefits Pakistan and its people who have now taken ownership of it as a guarantor of their better tomorrow.

In his address, Ambassador Sun Weidong said that Pakistan-China people to people exchanges are already being broadened and 200000 visitors from both countries visited each other in 2016 while there were 22000 Pakistan students studying in China including 5000 on official scholarships. Ambassador Sun Weidong also referred to the 19 Early Harvest Projects, particularly those in the energy sector which had contributed to 1820 MW of electricity and after November 2017, he said that thanks to CPEC, surplus power would be produced. So one result of CPEC is already evident in that it has helped to resolve Pakistan’s chronic energy crisis. He said that plans were afoot for the convening of the 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), which is the apex decision making body on CPEC. Among the projects would be metro bus projects in all provincial capitals, construction of Gwadar International Airport, upgradation of Pakistan railway line between Karachi and Peshawar and the building of 9 industrial parks.

Another result of CPEC mentioned by Ambassador Sun Weidong was that prior to CPEC, Pakistan’s growth rate was an annual 3.6% but now with CPEC underway, it had gone up to 5.3% despite many challenges. 60,000 job opportunities were also created by Chinese companies for Pakistanis.

Responding to a question of Mehmood Achakzai about the leadership role of China in the Asian century as a peace maker in the region, Ambassador Sun Weidong said that peace was like oxygen, fresh air, for development and that is why China believes in partnership, dialogue and cooperation in promoting connectivity among countries and all issues left over by history, like Kashmir, need to be resolved through dialogue and negotiations. He added that “terrorism is the common enemy of humanity” and we must confront this menace collectively.

The meeting was attended by Rana Mohammad Afzal, MNA, Isphanyar Bhandara, MNA, Ghous Bux Mahar, MNA, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, MNA, Senator Lt. Gen. ® Salahuddin Tirmizi, Senator Shibli Faraz, Senator Talha Mehmood and Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed plus Committee, Nasim Khalid.