Pakistan, China to Counter All Challenges to CPEC:
Chairman of Pakistan China Institute and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan and China will jointly counter all challenges to CPEC, during his address at the 4th CPEC Media Forum.[i]
The China Economic Net (CEN) and the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, jointly organised the Media Forum.
The purpose of the forum was to disseminate factual information on CPEC, and also to devise a joint Pakistan-China strategy to counter negative perceptions that are generated by vested interests and detractors in the region. A 12-member delegation took part in the event, led by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman PCI and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid talked about the stance of the new government on CPEC, after the conclusion of the PM Khan’s visit to China. During that visit both countries have expressed satisfaction with progress of CPEC, both sides are committed to agree to complete the ongoing projects of CPEC, as well as create employment, enhance people’s welfare and promote industrial development. The two sides also agreed to promote the construction of CPEC in the future by taking it to the next phase which will be decided at the upcoming meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC in Beijing next month, and both sides also agreed to create a social economic development working group apart from a political working group through the two Foreign Ministries.” The Ambassador also emphasized the role of media in disseminating accurate information on CPEC and said that there should be more media interaction between the two countries. “We need to guard the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC against the growing negativity of its detractors.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s China Visit to take Friendly Ties to New Heights:
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to China and interaction with Chinese top leadership would usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation between the two all-weather friends, former Chinese and Pakistani diplomats said on Wednesday.[ii]
The visit of PM Khan’s was a great success as people from all walks of life from both sides were commending it, they expressed these views during a reception hosted by Hasib ur Rehman, Chief Representative, Askari Bank.
Former Ambassador Lu Shulin, who served as Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan remarked, “The visit would take China-Pakistan friendship to new heights and it has opened a new chapter of bilateral ties.”
He said that people to people contact was the central point of friendship and the cooperation as a result of the new agreements will further cement the existing ties and comprehensive meetings of top Chinese leadership with the visiting prime minister were testimony to this fact.
Beijing Puts to Rest Doubts About CPEC:
Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing has urged the Pakistani nation to support CPEC for progress and economic stability of the country, saying any doubts about it are baseless.
Speaking at the CPEC Career Summit 2018 at the Islamabad Air University on Thursday, he said, “The new Pakistani government keeps a vision for the future and the Chinese government and leadership believe that the incumbent government can develop Pakistan. China believes that Pakistanis are hardworking and peace-loving people and that Pakistan has a brighter future under the current leadership.”
Jing praised PM Khan for being a visionary, saying PM Khan told in a speech at an institution in China that he was a sportsman and used to take risks against the opposite team’s players. “Imran Khan is serious regarding the future of the youth. Innovation is important for the future,” said Jing. “CPEC is a window of development. Through it, people of China and the region can be contacted.”
He said as Pakistan has geographical importance, a strong Pakistan would prove beneficial for the whole region and that his country had always worked towards strengthening bilateral relations with Pakistan.[iii]
President FCCI Suggests Formation of Joint Ventures for Technology Transfer from China:
CPEC has entered its second phase under which Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being established, however, a strategy should be evolved to encourage joint ventures in order to ensure technology transfer from China, emphasized Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President, Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain.[iv]
He was speaking to a three-member delegation of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which was developing and marketing Rashakai and Hattar SEZs.
Hussain pointed out that the M3 Industrial Estate in Faisalabad had already been declared an SEZ under CPEC. He was of the view that the estate was strategically located along the M3 motorway as the Lahore-Karachi motorway of CPEC could be reached within half an hour drive. “The surplus produced in this area can be easily transported to Karachi, Gwadar, China and landlocked Central Asia through reliable connectivity,” he said.
The FCCI president suggested that many industrial units, which had been closed due to lack of modern technology, could be revived through collaboration with China. “China is importing food items worth $100 billion annually from across the world,” he pointed out. “Pakistan can provide some of these commodities as it produces surplus wheat, milk and vegetables.” He suggested that value addition to these products would assist Pakistan in bridging the existing import and export gap between the two countries.
IMF Dissatisfied with Pakistan’s Fiscal Policies:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed dissatisfaction at the current state of Pakistan’s tax collection as the cash-strapped government sought a bailout package of up to USD 6 billion from the multilateral lender to overcome the economic challenges, media reports said Tuesday.
The Pakistani government is facing grave economic challenges as it struggles to keep the economy afloat. Last month, Saudi Arabia said it would provide Pakistan with a USD 6 billion rescue package, but officials have said it is not enough, and Islamabad still plans to seek a bailout from the IMF.
If approved, it would be Pakistan’s 13th rescue package from the multilateral lender since the late 1980s. Pakistan formally approached the IMF in October for loans. An IMF team is currently reviewing Pakistan’s monetary and fiscal policies as well as its monetary needs in keeping with the current account deficit.[v]
This report is compiled and written by Syeda Uruba Nisar, Social Media Associate at the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad.
[i] Pakistan, China to counter all challenges to CPEC: Mushahid. (2018, November 18). The News. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/395408-pakistan-china-to-counter-all-challenges-to-cpec-mushahid
[ii] Abbas, S. (2018, November 14). Prime Minister Imran Khan’s China Visit To Take Friendly Ties To New Heights: Former Diplomats. Urdu Point. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/prime-minister-imran-khans-china-visit-to-ta-480567.html
[iii] Beijing Puts to Rest Doubts About CPEC. (2018, November 16). The Express Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1848247/1-beijing-puts-rest-doubts-cpec/
[iv] Rana, I. (2018, November 17). Strategy needed to form joint ventures with China: FCCI. The Express Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1848788/2-strategy-needed-form-joint-ventures-china-fcci/
[v] IMF Dissatisfied With Pakistan’s Fiscal Policies as Imran Khan Govt Seeks USD 6 Billion Bailout. (2018, November 13). News 18. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://www.news18.com/news/world/imf-dissatisfied-with-pakistans-fiscal-policies-as-imran-khan-govt-seeks-usd-6-billion-bailout-1938213.html