ISLAMABAD - Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman said on Saturday that high-level contacts and multi-sectoral cooperation between Pakistan and China were a manifestation of the fact that both sides accord high importance to bilateral relations and desire to further deepen ties for mutual benefit.

She expressed these views while talking to Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing Ambassador who called on her at the Parliament House. 

Senator Rehman said that Pakistan and China had a history of friendship which was built by PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mao Tes-tung and both the countries had stood by each other and saw the vicissitudes of time. She said that this historic friendship had remained beneficial for both in economic and strategic fields while initiatives like CPEC and BRI added further impetus to bilateral relations between the two sides.

She said that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari always placed Pak-China relations in highest regards and consensus exists across party lines in relations with China.

Senator Rehman said that it was clear that Asia was rising and that its people needed to be the master of their own destiny by controlling their own resources and harnessing the tremendous economic potential of a connected continent. China’s BRI will connect one ocean to another with its projection of economic power and infrastructure across Euro-Asia.

“We hope that the CPEC will generate more jobs at very fast pace, bring more opportunities for Pakistani youth and expedite social and economic development,” Senator Rehman said.  She appreciated the fact that the Chinese envoy was further proactive in consolidating Pakistan and China friendship.

The ambassador informed her about the projects initiated under the CPEC and said that 14 projects under the CPEC have caused to generate 70,000 employment opportunities for the youth of Pakistan and more projects were in the pipeline. These would further provide opportunities to the youth of the country in terms of jobs.  He said that locals were a priority in all the CPEC projects.

Senator Rehman termed it a big step in the right direction. “Our youth is highly capable and has the potential to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of the country,” she said. She also expressed her good wishes to the government and people of China and underscored the need for more parliamentary interaction to promote people to people contacts. She said that the Pakistan-China Friendship Group in the Senate would be revived to institutionalize the bilateral relationship.