ISLAMABAD - The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the centrepiece of Pakistan-China friendship, said participants of a dialogue between Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the Chinese counterpart here on Tuesday.

The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain held a detailed and substantive dialogue with Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. 

The meeting was held at Parliament House and attended by Ambassador of China Yao Jing as well as the Director General (China desk) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ayesha Ali. Senators Sherry Rehman, Rehman Malik, Sirajul Haq, Mian Ateeq Sheikh, Nuzhat Sadiq, Anwarul Haq Kakar and Secretary of the Committee Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas also participated in the meeting.

Senator Mushahid said that the CPEC has united the federation of Pakistan. He said that there was a complete consensus among political parties on friendship with China.

The senator said that Pakistan and China had a strategic relationship based on a track record of supporting each other on their respective “core interests”. 

He said the CPEC was the centerpiece of Pakistan-China friendship and lauded the Belt and Road initiative of President Xi Jinping as the biggest diplomatic and developmental initiative of the 21st century. 

He said that a unique feature of Pakistan China friendship was that all political forces, the government and parliament, the armed forces and civil society were united on this one issue that this relationship was the most vital component of Pakistan’s foreign policy since it serves the national interests of Pakistan. 

He said balance of economic and political power is shifting from the West to the East and China is a pillar of the Asian century.

The Chinese delegation led by Kong Quan said that they all feel at home on coming to Pakistan and the Chinese government and the people, as well as the parliament, strongly support Pakistan in their efforts to protect its independence and build a strong economy relying on their talented manpower. 

He said that China would continue to support CPEC including strengthen cooperation with the youth as well as strengthen Pakistan’s industrial and manufacturing base. 

He also urged the need for parliamentary diplomacy between the parliamentarians of Pakistan and China.

There was a ‘very positive’ interactive discussion between the parliamentarians of both sides who represented the media, diplomacy and the business sectors, said an official statement. 

Senator Sherry Rehman urged a greater role for the youth in CPEC and leveraging the relationship strategically.

Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, who spoke of women’s participation, while Senator Mian Ateeq urged the need for closer business interaction between the two countries and  the need for technology transfer.

Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar urged the need for the youth of Balochistan to get dividends from the CPEC and he that 99% of the people of Balochistan supported the CPEC.

Senator Rehman Malik talked of security and cooperation between Pakistan and China, while Senator Sirajul Haq urged that the benefits of CPEC should reach the common man and he also underlined the need for small and medium enterprises to benefit from CPEC. The visiting Chinese delegation leader invited Senator Hussain and the Foreign Affairs Committee to visit China on the invitation of CPPCC. Senator Hussain presented souvenirs to the Chinese delegation. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan is hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization–Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Legal Experts meeting from today (May 23-25) here. This is the first ever SCO meeting being held in Pakistan since becoming the member of SCO in June 2017. Pakistan is pleased to welcome delegations from SCO member states to Islamabad, said a foreign ministry statement.

Legal Experts from the eight member states, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the SCO-RATS Executive Committee will participate. 

Legal experts will discuss terrorist threats facing the region and ways and means to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation between SCO member states. Pakistan supports SCO’s efforts for regional cooperation in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.  “We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” it said.