Islamabad-Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), in collaboration with the Centre for Chinese Legal Studies (CCLS), Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law (SAHSOL), LUMS organised a special webinar under the framework of ‘Friends of Silk Road’ to celebrate 69 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China. The webinar featured keynote speakers from Beijing, Islamabad, and Lahore including Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, H.E. Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi and the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Yao Jing, as well as Former Chinese Minister, Dr. Zhao Baige and Chairman, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Pakistan, Senator Mushahid Hussain.

The webinar was moderated by Mr. Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director, PCI and Professor Sikander Shah, Director, CCLS, SAHSOL, LUMS. In his introductory remarks, Professor Shah introduced the Centre, its vision for establishing domestic, regional, and global synergies in the field of Chinese legal studies, and expressed his appreciation of the Centre’s collaboration with PCI. Mr. Sayed provided an overview of the Institute’s activities, including its active cross-border engagement, highlighted the anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan and China’s diplomatic ties, and expressed his enthusiasm for PCI’s alliance with CCLS.

The session began with a special documentary prepared by PCI on Pakistan and China’s ‘69 Years of Friendship’ to commemorate the anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations. The Chinese Ambassador also used the occasion to rebut what he referred to as “disinformation and baseless allegations” levelled by US Ambassador, Alice Wells, who is retiring as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, saying that, unlike the United States, “China will be a partner to Pakistan, but never its teacher.”

He said that the American attitude towards China, CPEC, and Pakistan-China relations was a combination of “arrogance, distortion and desire for hegemony.”

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, H.E. Naghmana Hashmi cited China and Pakistan’s mutual support during crises, especially COVID-19, and she quoted President Xi Jinping as telling President Arif Alvi during their meeting in Beijing on March 17 that Pakistan and China have a “unique, all-weather, strategic, cooperative partnership.” She said that the future of Pakistan-China relations, beyond COVID-19, is “brighter, stronger, and more enduring.” Chinese Former Minister and Member of the National People’s Congress, Dr. Zhao Baige said, “We are all learning about COVID-19 and we are also learning from each other.” She added, “The future of Pakistan-China relations is bright because the future belongs to the youth of both Pakistan and China who are stakeholders in this relationship.”

Senator Mushahid Hussain spoke of the Pakistan parliament and its members being staunch advocates of the Pakistan-China friendship. He cited the February 12 and May 14 resolutions that were unanimously passed by the Senate of Pakistan expressing solidarity with China, lauding the leadership of President Xi Jinping and rejecting the baseless propaganda against China. He noted that during the earlier April 3 webinar hosted by PCI, eight political parties of Pakistan, both in the government and in the opposition, showed unity in their vision to promote, protect, and preserve CPEC since they collectively see this as a guarantor for a better tomorrow for the 220 million people of Pakistan. Senator Hussain also lauded China for having an inclusive and cooperative approach towards tackling COVID-19 at home and seeking cooperation with other countries to collectively overcome this common threat.

Professor Uzair Kayani, SAHSOL faculty member, thanked the participants for attending the webinar on a day that marks the anniversary of Pakistan’s most important foreign-policy relationship and mentioned the need for the global community to come together on all fronts to work towards a brighter tomorrow.