ISLAMABAD - Syed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the prime minister on foreign affairs, Wednesday concluded a two-day seminar on Building China-Pakistan Community of Shared Destiny in the New Era, jointly organised by the ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan and Chinese embassy.
The seminar was largely attended by prominent scholars and researchers from China and Pakistan.
Warmly congratulating the Chinese embassy in Islamabad and the China Division in the ministry of foreign affairs for co-organising the seminar, Fatemi conveyed his gratitude to the Chinese and Pakistani scholars and researchers for their valuable contribution to the various sub-themes of the seminar, ranging from development of China-Pakistan relations to China-Pakistan economic corridor, and covering counterterrorism, and regional and Afghanistan issues.
He said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the new Chinese leadership have laid the foundation of the landmark concept of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was a manifestation of the commitment of the leadership of the two countries, to further promoting bilateral relations that are based on convergence of views and interests.
The special assistant said under the CPEC, far-reaching agreements have been finalised between the two countries that would enhance and fortify existing excellent relations between Pakistan and China.
The projects would generate more employment opportunities as well as economic activities to bring peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Successful implementation of these projects would not only benefit China and Pakistan, but also transform the whole region, he added. Enhancing connectivity between Pakistan and China is of great importance to expanding economic and trade cooperation, promoting economic integration, and fostering economic development of the two countries. The special assistant said that Pakistan-China relations are all-weather and deep-rooted.
This relationship has withstood the tests of time. Both countries have maintained an everlasting friendship having cooperative relationship, whether it is economic, defence, international affairs and culture. He emphasised that the tangible benefits from Pak-China excellent strategic and political relations should accrue to the peoples of the two countries. "It is our shared objective to work together for realising the goal of shared prosperity," he added.
The head of Chinese scholars' delegation, Ambassador (Retd) Zhou Gang, said that Pakistan is a great country with a time-honoured history and rich culture. He said that Pakistan-China friendly exchanges are rooted in history. The ancient Silk Road connected Pakistan and China together.
He said, "Our experience of friendship with Pakistan has strengthened our conviction that Pakistan-China friendship is rock-firm and full of vitality." He was of the view that exchanges of scholars between the two countries are invaluable asset for both countries and should continue in future, as well.
He said that Pakistan has taken an active part in the regional cooperation process of South Asia and always stood for resolving differences through peaceful dialogue and worked with other countries in South Asia to promote prosperity and development in this region, thus contributing greatly to regional and international security.
He remarked that China was happy to see Pakistan playing an important and constructive role in regional and international affairs.
The special assistant assured the participants that recommendations and suggestions that have come out of the four sessions would be given due consideration while formulating policies and responses on the issues discussed during the seminar.
Earlier, addressing the seminar, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Senate Defence Committee, called for a joint Pakistan-China counterterror strategy, terming terrorism is a serious issue for both neighbours and terrorists are common enemies of humanity.
The senator said that terrorism has no borders, no religion and no ethnicity and this is a trans-national problem requiring regional approach including Pakistan, China and the other four neighbours of Afghanistan, namely, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He proposed that there should be concrete coordination and these could include better border management and stringent border controls to ensure that terrorists don't cross over into each other's territory.
Senator Mushahid welcomed the proactive political and diplomatic role of China towards Afghanistan, which includes the appointment of a special Chinese envoy for Afghanistan, hosting of an international conference on Afghanistan for the first time in China as well as greater coordination between Beijing and Islamabad on Afghanistan. He also announced that the Pakistan-China Institute would be hosting a trilateral think tanks conference of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan in October 2014 in Islamabad.
Senator Mushahid further expressed that there should also be conferences of think tanks of Pakistan and China focusing on a better coordination for joint counter-terror strategy. Pakistan, China and Afghanistan can also cooperate together in joint counter-terror strategy under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). He also called for highlighting the role of media to present a counter narrative in the campaign against terrorism.
Referring to recent incidence of violence in Xinjiang province of China, Mushahid expressed full solidarity with Chinese government and its people in their efforts to combat terrorism and religious extremism.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Maria Sultan, DG and Chairperson SASSI University, said that the impact of terrorism is national as well as regional, so the counterterrorism efforts have to be made at the regional level as well. Referring to the global war on terror, she said that after the 13 years of war almost $1 trillion have been spent in Afghanistan so far but still more than 28 provinces of Afghanistan face the issue of terrorism. "These are the same provinces that border the neighbouring states and in this regard, effective mechanism for the border management is essential," Dr Maria emphasised.
The Chinese speakers were of the view that the collaboration between the think tanks of Pakistan and China in an encouraging sign and this will bring the strategic thinking from both the countries on the same page.