LAHORE – President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday approved civil awards for Chinese dignitaries recognising their meritorious services in further cementing Pak-China relations.

The awards will be conferred on Li Shenglin - Hilal-e-Quaid-i-Azam, Ms. Fu Ying - Hilal-e-Quaid-i-Azam, Sun Weidong - Sitara-e-Pakistan, Ms. Hou Yanqi - Tamgha-e-Pakistan, for promoting cooperation between the two countries in their respective areas. Li Shenglin played an instrumental role in efforts to increase connectivity between Pakistan and China in his capacity as minister of transport.

Ms Fu Ying, serving as the vice minister in the ministry of foreign affairs of the People’s Republic of China has remained a steadfast friend of Pakistan and a strong advocate for strengthening Pakistan-China relations.

Under her leadership, the coordination and cooperation between the two ministries of foreign affairs deepened and strengthened. She also played an important role in advancing Pak-China strategic comprehensive partnership in all spheres of life. Sun Weidong, deputy director general of Asia department in the ministry of foreign affairs of China is an ardent advocate of strengthening Pak-China friendship.

During his tenure, a number of important memoranda of understanding/agreements were signed. He played vital role in ensuring a speedy follow up on the various decisions taken by the leadership of the two countries.

Ms. Hou Yanqi is an expert on Pakistan and is currently working as director in the Asia department of the ministry of foreign affairs of China.

Having learnt and mastered Urdu language, Ms. Hou Yanqi contributed to cementing friendship between Pakistan-China.

President Zardari has also approved conferment of Hilal-i-Imtiaz upon late Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, former Sports Minister Sindh, in recognition of his meritorious contributions in the field of medicine.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairmaa Bialawal Bhutto Zardari visited the farmhouse of Senator Aitzaz Ahsan at Bedian Road on Tuesday.

Aitzaz Ahsan and his spouse Bushra Aitzaz received the guests on their arrival. President Zardari and Bilalawal Zardari also had lunch at the farmhouse. Sources say during informal talks on the occasion, the party and legal matters after the Swiss authorities’ reply to the Pakistan government letter also came under discussion.

While talking to media people after the lunch, Aitzaz, with reference to the Swiss cases against Zardari, said he had pleaded before the Supreme Court in favour of the immunity to the president under Article 248 of the Constitution and this fact was established after the cases in question had been shelved. To a question that an excess has been done to former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who lost his office through a judicial verdict for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities, which was done by the incumbent premier, he expressed the hope the SC decision, disqualifying Gilani would be reviewed.

To a question on the legal case against the dual office of the president, he said the five-member bench of the Lahore High Court had only restrained him from using the presidency for his political activity, without hitting his political office.

Moreover, he said President Zardari belonged to the PPP which was not registered with the Election Commission and was like a social association while the actual political party was the PPPP headed by Amin Fahim.