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جمعہ، 17 دسمبر، 2010

Everlasting Pak-China Friendship

Pakistan and China have a comprehensive framework for bilateral economic cooperation in the from of a Five-Year Economic Cooperation Programme as well and both countries have more than 200 agreements between them.

By Ms. Farzana Raja,

Pak-China friendship is rooted in the ethos of the people and will continue to gain strength in the days to come. This friendship is time-tested and is progressing by leaps and bounds. Indeed, the exemplary friendship between the two countries is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the Indian ocean. We are proud of the friendship with China and it lives in the heart of every individual. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the founding Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, was the architect of this wonderful mutual bond between the two countries and these ties got further strength during the premiership of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
Advancing the legacy of Bhuttos, the present democratic government has given special priority to enhance mutual cooperation between two countries in various sectors of the economy. The governments of both the neighboring countries have time and again vowed to further consolidate the Pakistan-China strategic partnership, with the main objective of promoting and safeguarding the fundamental interests of their people.
The leadership of the both the countries have expressed their firm resolve to carry forward the decades-old close friendship between the two countries for their mutual benefits. The people of the two countries have also successfully carried forward their ever-green friendship, under all adversities. They stood by each other through thick and thin and proved wroth of their friendship, meeting common challenges at regional and international levels.
Indeed, the strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China is in the interest of both the countries and regional stability. Recently, Chinese government has shown keen interest in enhancing people to people contacts and the existing cultural ties. The economic cooperation between the two countries had flourished with signing of the Free Trade Agreement and both countries are now focusing on cooperation in science and technological fields.
The present democratic government assigns tremendous value to mutual cooperation between two countries while terming China as true friend of Pakistan. Hence the government wishes to further strengthen our multifaceted relations particularly in economic, trade, investment and defence arenas. China has provided valuable assistance in Chashma I and II nuclear power plants and its being expected that other projects in this field would soon materialize.
Chinese government also provided Pakistan assistance and support in important projects like KKH up-gradation, Heavy Mechanical Complex Taxila, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, Gwadar Port, Mangla Dam de-silting and raising, Bhasha Dam, JF-17 Aircraft and Naval Frigates. The President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has declared China as a focal point of the foreign policy of present democratic regime. He has time and again recalled the contributions of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in nurturing and strengthening these ties and reiterated that Pakistan People’s Party would continue to enhance this glorious legacy.      

Pakistan and China have a comprehensive framework for bilateral economic cooperation in the form of a Five-Year Economic Cooperation Programme as well and both countries have more than 200 agreements between them.  This provides a solid foundation to take our economic cooperation forward. The recent tour of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao  would be highly crucial in enhancement of the economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.

Pakistan's trade with China is continuously growing and exports to that country witnessed a 37 per cent surge last year and bilateral trade is expected to touch USD 15 billion to USD 18 billion in the next five years. In present global scenario, the time-tested relations between Pakistan and China, which support each other at all international forums, cannot be compared with Beijing's ties with any other country.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has recently very rightly said that the Pak-China relations are special as they are rooted in the ethos of the peoples of the two countries. Pakistan and China have always stood together at all times. It is for this reason that our friendship is described as all-weather friendship. It’s being expected that the Chinese Premier will hold meetings and wide-ranging talks with the Pakistani leadership, interact with businessmen and entrepreneurs and address a joint sitting of Pakistan's parliament during his visit. Hence, the tour will boost the socio-economic ties further which were envisioned and dreamt by two legendary Bhuttos. 

Author is Federal Minister/Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme 
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