All Pakistani parties unanimously support CPEC

Islamabad: In a significant demonstration of solidarity this week, all major political parties in Pakistan united in their endorsement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This came during a crucial meeting chaired by Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, aimed at discussing enhanced bilateral cooperation.

The Pakistani political leadership reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to strengthening the Pakistan-China relationship and pledged to resist any attempts to disrupt this partnership.

This consensus was evident at the CPEC Pakistan-China Political Parties Forum and the third Meeting of the CPEC Political Parties Joint Consultative Mechanism.

The event was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Liu Jianchao, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan.

Attendees included key figures such as Senate Chairman Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Muttahida Qaumi Moveme (MAM)’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal) Hina Rabbani Khar of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Senator Syed Ali Zafar of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Munazza Hassan of Istehkam Pakistan Party, Senator Jan Muhammad of National Party, senior politician Afrasiab Khattak, among others.

In his opening address, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar underscored CPEC’s pivotal role in Pakistan’s socio-economic progress. He highlighted how CPEC projects had mitigated the country’s persistent power shortages and generated numerous employment opportunities, leaving a lasting impact on the Pakistani populace.

Dar reflected on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to China, noting the mutual agreement to proceed with the second phase of CPEC and the signing of agreements for third-party involvement in the initiative. He reiterated Pakistan’s dedication to fostering people-to-people connections, emphasizing the enduring support both nations have shown each other.

He stressed that CPEC is a cornerstone of the Pakistan-China economic and strategic alliance, with unanimous recognition of its importance for socio-economic development and regional connectivity. The second phase of CPEC, he noted, focuses on agriculture, information technology, industry, and mining.

Chinese Minister Liu Jianchao expressed satisfaction with the agreements from Prime Minister Sharif’s visit, calling it a “very successful” step in enhancing bilateral ties. He emphasized the unwavering commitment of both nations’ leadership to fortify the China-Pakistan friendship.

Liu lauded Pakistan’s 5Es framework, which targets five key areas of cooperation, and announced that IDCPC would invite 300 Pakistani parliamentarians to China over the next three years. Furthermore, China plans to offer scholarships and vocational training to Pakistani youth and extend invitations to media representatives annually to promote mutual understanding.

Senate Chairman Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani highlighted the political consensus on CPEC, noting its significant contributions to health, education, and IT sectors, as well as in addressing energy challenges. He called for joint efforts towards a sustainable and resilient future, with enhanced cooperation in education and tourism.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq assured rigorous parliamentary oversight of CPEC projects, reaffirming the parliament’s determination to build on previous achievements and ensure the full realization of CPEC’s potential.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal recognized the political unity supporting CPEC, praising China’s crucial aid during Pakistan’s energy crisis. He thanked China for incorporating new corridors into CPEC in line with the 5Es strategy.

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed gratitude for China’s support on the Kashmir issue and reiterated Pakistan’s stance on Taiwan. He urged the completion of delayed CPEC projects.

Federal Education Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Munazza Hassan stressed the importance of focusing on education, IT, and artificial intelligence to tap into the youth’s potential.

Senator Syed Ali Zafar called for expediting CPEC projects, while Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, proposed creating a rapid response information system to combat disinformation targeting CPEC.

Senator Jan Muhammad advocated for technical training for Balochistan’s youth, and Afrasiab Khattak cautioned against regional forces trying to destabilize peace.

The event concluded with an interactive session where leaders highlighted the need for parliamentary exchanges to strengthen people-to-people ties.