Islamabad, Aug 11. Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan, Rehman Malik called on China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou on August 8, 2017 in capital Beijing to review the security situation and political stability scenario in Pakistan, Foreign Ministry of China said in a statement. During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on China-Pakistan relations, the construction and security guarantee work of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of China's $900 billion Dollar global development plan called ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Rehman Malik was leading a delegation to visit China.
The visit of Additional Secretary of the Interior Ministry to China comes at a time when political uncertainties and tensions took hold in Pakistan, with Cabinet dissolved and a sitting prime minister disqualified after Supreme Court judgment in a corruption scam.
To counter the speculations and negative impact on CPEC project after removal of PM Nawaz Sharif, both governments of China and Pakistan immediately released statements giving assurance of support to continue development work on CPEC, a vital link for China to peruse global development goals.
From the Chinese side, Premier Li Keqiang expressed China’s commitment to continue to promote the development of bilateral cooperation by stating "Chinese side is ready to work with the Pakistan side to strengthen our mutually beneficial China-Pakistan strategic partnership in all fields, and promote the development of CPEC for the betterment of two countries and well-being of peoples, and to contribute to peace and stability of the region”.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while meeting Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, also guaranteed by saying that he will work to implement CPEC as it was being implemented, and he will personally supervise the speedy completion of all the projects under the CPEC.
Beyond CPEC, our economic cooperation will further enhance, the Prime Minister stated
Besides political uncertainties in Pakistan, fears over safety of Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects also worry China because two Chinese nationals were killed in June 2016 in Quetta, capital city of Balochistan, which is the heart of CPEC. Gwadar port -a central part of multi-billion dollars Economic Corridors launched under Belt and Road Initiative, located in Balochistan.
Quetta has been hit by terror groups several times.
According to local news reports, there are currently more than 30,000 Chinese living and working in Pakistan.
Protection of Chinese citizens working in Pakistan is the “top priority” of the government, Pakistan government assured to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when he visited Islamabad in June, 2017.
To further beef up the security, Pakistan has established a 15,000-strong military force dedicated to protect Chinese nationals working on energy and infrastructure projects under CPEC in the country.
Experts say China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership is time-tested and long-term. Therefore, both countries hold regular meetings to share information and boost mutual trust. Despite several challenges, both China and Pakistan are committed to jointly build the Belt and Road, and build a community of shared future, which serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples and promotes peace and development of the region and beyond.
By Muhammad Arif
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