BEIJING - Pakistan and China yesterday issued a unanimous ‘Beijing Declaration’ on President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The declaration was adopted by all majorly Pakistani political parties and the Chinese government at the First Meeting of CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism here.

Dozens of representatives from the Communist Party of China, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Pakistan People’s Party, National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awarni Party, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (Fazl), Balochistan Awami Party, Awami National Party, and Balochistan National Party (Mengal), as well as from think tanks, business community, the media, and non-governmental organisations of China and - Pakistan met in Beijing to discuss the mega projects.

Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is in China on an official visit, said Pakistan and China’s friendship was unparalleled.

He said the two countries had seen many rainy days together but worked shoulder to shoulder. He said the country’s political parties may have differences in the domestic issues but they were all united on friendship with China and CPEC.

Qureshi said there was no security issue in Pakistan and CPEC projects will be completed in time. He said friendship with China was the main priority of the PTI-led government.

Qureshi terms friendship unparalleled

The FM said all the parties had shown maturity and proved that they were united on the national issues.

In her speech, PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said “There is complete unanimity in Pakistan on the CPEC opportunity”, as all the political parties of Pakistan unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration. She was leading a delegation of other senior PPP members.

Underlining the significance of CPEC for Pakistan, the Senator said, “Political parties are taking responsibility for Pakistan’s future and making sure that CPEC, as an opportunity, reaches its full potential. It is a platform that goes beyond parties and provinces. It guarantees Pakistan’s entry into the 21st century as a viable economy that is able to provide its citizens basic economic benefits”.

The former leader of opposition said that her party truly appreciates the opportunity to join the multi-party consultation on CPEC and that such exchanges were beneficial for everyone. She then invited the hosts to visit Pakistan and all provinces including Sindh for enhanced communication and relationship.

“I would like to make three points; we are here to take stock of our progress on realizing joint goals on CPEC. One is the creation of consensus, something we always talk about; the second is the building of clarity on joint roles as we proceed together; and third is the importance and power of communication both internally and externally about how important and transformational CPEC can be for the people of Pakistan and for the future of the region’s peace, stability and our joint progress,” Rehman said.

Celebrating the close bond between her party and China, Rehman added “Both Pakistan and the PPP hold the Peoples Republic of China as our iron brothers from the 1950s from the days of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was the last leader to see Chairman Mao before his death. For the PPP, CPEC is our project. We take unambiguous ownership of it as it was shepherded by the grunt of Gwadar to China by President Asif Ali Zardari who visited China eleven times during his presidency to make this dream a reality.”

She expressed that she hopes China would see the PPP as key stakeholders in making CPEC work for the people of Pakistan as it is a party that is invested totally in the multi-sectoral outcome of jobs, growth, energy provision and regional stability that CPEC brings.

Highlighting the importance of working alongside China the Senator stated, “Learning from China will be crucial to deepening the skill base of our people, one million of which enter the job market every year. China boasts a digital economy of $3.8 billion. We will be using the digital platforms for connectivity, jobs, development, marketing and communication”.

PML-N leader Mushahid Hussain Syed said Pakistan and Chen’s should march forward in the month of March as both countries were united.

He said that the PML-N leadership had laid the foundation for the CPEC and the party was determined to keep the Pak-China friendship higher than Himalayas.

Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri, Governor Balochistan Amanullah Khan, ANP’s Shagufta Malik and others also took part in the discussions and vowed to support the CPEC for the welfare of the region.

The Beijing Declaration reads: “We are of the view that the CPEC, as a flagship BRI project, has contributed positively to peace, stability and prosperity of the region.”

The parties agreed to “continue to render firm support to the building of the CPEC so as to promote the development of the China-Pakistan All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership in depth and width towards an even closer community with a shared future for China and Pakistan.”

They agreed to “undertake to shoulder the due responsibilities as political parties towards creating favourable conditions for the building of the CPEC through providing effective political guidance and forging stronger consensus among different sectors of society in both countries.

The parties vowed to “facilitate closer party-to-party communications and stronger friendly consultations in the spirit of sincerity and candidness to build up trust and clarify doubts for the steady and sustainable development of the CPEC.” They welcomed the launch of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultation Mechanism, which, “by our agreement, shall remain open to all political parties and stakeholders in Pakistan.”