PM arrives in Beijing on a four-day official visit
Nation stands united behind security forces to defeat terrorists: PM
BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday arrived here on a four-day official visit where he would join other world leaders attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics scheduled to be held Friday. Accompanied by a high-level delegation including federal cabinet members, the prime minister would also meet the Chinese leadership.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant on China Pakistan Economic Corridor Khalid Mansoor are part of the prime minister’s delegation.
On his arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, the prime minister was welcomed by the Assistant Foreign Minister of China Wu Jianghao. Pakistan’s Ambassador in Beijing Moeen ul Haq and senior embassy officials were also present.
Besides attending the ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Imran Khan will also meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. During the meeting, the two leaderships would discuss the ways to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation, particularly under the CPEC framework, besides the regional and international affairs.
Besides the virtual interactions with the prominent Chinese business leaders, top think tanks, intellectuals and media, other bilateral meetings are also on the prime minister’s agenda of the visit.
This is the prime minister’s fourth visit to China as he paid his last visit in October 2019.
Prior to his visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the removal of red tape hindering the Chinese investment in Pakistan, ordering “the removal of 37 regulations to ensure one-window operation for foreign investors.” Pakistan and China supported each other in their fight against the Covid pandemic and pushed forward high-quality development of CPEC, while Beijing had invested over $25 billion in Pakistan on CPEC projects generating 80,000 jobs, producing 5500kw of electricity and building over 500 kilometers of roads.
The Pak-China cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic has remained exemplary. President Dr. Arif Alvi visited China in March 2020 to express solidarity with the Chinese people.
Pakistan is one of the earliest supporters and participants of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As BRI’s flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor complements the Pakistani government’s vision of economic sovereignty.
China’s non-financial direct investment in countries under the BRI reached $17.99 billion from January to November in 2021, up 12.7 percent year-on-year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and gloomy global investment environment.
The CPEC is a transformational project. Among 70 early-harvest projects, 46 have been launched or completed with a total investment of $ 25.4 billion creating 80,000 local jobs. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said PM Khan’s meeting with the Chinese leadership would focus on bilateral strategic partnership, regional matters, and peace and security in South Asia.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said the prime minister during the visit would propose the Chinese leadership to relocate their industry in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones for a win-win situation besides extending assistance in agriculture.
National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yousaf said the visit would provide an opportunity to discuss ways to improve peace in Afghanistan to end terrorism.
Commerce Adviser Dawood said the meetings would the Chinese counterparts would focus on some areas of the Free Trade Agreement and trade of cement, rice, fruit, and vegetables.
During the visit of PM Khan, a book titled ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor – Investment Opportunities in Pakistan’ will be presented to the Chinese president, premier, and investors.
Further adding to this, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday stressed that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the local government system, representation of all segments particularly women, youth, farmers and businessmen was important.
Chairing a meeting on upcoming local body elections in Punjab, he said a functional local government system was the guarantor of national development.
The prime minister said with an efficient local government system, the majority of the civic problems could be resolved.
He said the aim of the local government system was to transfer power to a lower level.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers including Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood, Khusro Bakhtiar, Asad Umar, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Bazdar and provincial ministers including Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Khan, Muhammad Basharat Raja and Mian Mahmood Rasheed attended the meeting via video link. Earlier to this, Prime Minister Imran Khan says business-friendly policies of the government have made Pakistan as the most attractive destination in the region for investment in industries.
Chairing a high-level meeting on Special Economic Zones in Islamabad today (Wednesday), he said foreign investment in industries will not only increase employment and exports but also enable technology transfer.
The Prime Minister said the government is ensuring the system of SEZs on a priority basis on the Plug and Play model. He said the appointment of the Board of Governors and the management of SEZs are being made in view of upholding meritocracy and non-conflict of interest.
The meeting was given a detailed briefing on M-3 Industrial Zone besides Rashakai, Dhabeji, Bostan and Allama Iqbal Industrial City. The meeting was informed that 600 acres of land have been made available for setting up of industries in M-3 Economic Zone. In addition, work on infrastructure after a power supply is in full swing.
The meeting was also apprised of the steps taken by the Board of Investment to facilitate the establishment of industries for local and foreign investors. The Prime Minister issued instructions to ensure the timely completion of all measures. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the nation stands united behind security forces to defeat terrorists.
In a tweet on Thursday, he said we salute our brave security forces that repulsed terrorist attacks against security forces’ camps in Panjgur and Naushki in Balochistan. He said our security forces continue to give great sacrifices to protect us.