To learn from the Chinese experience of development and modernization with a view to imbibing lessons that can take the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) forward in the second phase, under the leadership of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), a multiparty delegation of seven parliamentarians visited China.
The delegation, representing six political parties from all four provinces, held a media briefing on July 20, 2023 at the Parliament House upon its return from China. “The visit reaffirms Pakistan Parliament and political parties’ commitment to promoting Pakistan-China friendship as the pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy, irrespective of any changes in Pakistan or the region,” said Mushahid Hussain Sayed. The delegation also exchanged views with Chinese counterparts on the rapidly changing situation in our neighborhood so that Pakistan and China can tackle common challenges collectively.
The significance of this visit, coinciding with 10 years of CPEC, underscores the commitment of both Pakistan and China to further strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation at the people-to-people level, which is the core and foundation of the Pakistan-China strategic ‘all weather’ partnership as ‘Iron Brothers’.
The parliamentarians included Dr. Mahesh Kumar Mallani, Mohsin Dawar, Muhammad Abu-Bakr, Ghous Bux Khan Maher, Dr. Nisar Ahmad Cheema, and Senator Sana Jamali.
During their stay in China, the delegation took part in a series of high-level meetings with Senior Officials of China’s Foreign Ministry, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, plus leading media outlets and top think tanks for first-hand understanding of the developments and phenomenal progress made in poverty alleviation, technology, education, and industry. The discussions delved into vital matters of mutual interest, charting a course for deeper collaboration in several areas.
In the interaction with Chinese counterparts, Senator Mushahid Hussain thanked China for extending timely diplomatic, military, and financial support for the $5.7 billion loans rollover, which helped save Pakistan from default, including support on Kashmir at G-20 and helping Pakistan get out of FATF listing. He assured China that all political parties of Pakistan, whether in government or opposition, strongly believe China is the pillar and pivot of Pakistan’s foreign policy, and CPEC is the guarantor of a better tomorrow for the people of Pakistan.
According to him, the biggest challenge for both Pakistan and China in the changing regional and global scenario when there is talk of a new Cold War and containment, is information warfare, disinformation, and fake news aimed at destabilizing CPEC, undermining Pakistan-China ties and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The tangible results of the Parliamentary Delegation’s visit include the holding of an international conference in Islamabad in the first half of 2024 ‘Understanding China, Pakistan & Regional Changes’ in cooperation with the leading influential think tank, China Institute for Innovation & Developing Strategy (CIIDS), and Pakistan-China Institute; to hold CPEC Media Forum in the last quarter of 2023 and to build closer relations between the cities and provinces of Pakistan and China, with a focus on poverty alleviation, agriculture, education, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), women’s development, culture and tourism, technology and media cooperation.