ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday stressed the need for capturing the true essence of Pakistan-China friendship, which is described as taller than the mountains and deeper than the oceans.
“Pakistan and China enjoy a unique and enduring friendship. In describing our friendship as being taller than the mountains and deeper than the oceans, I only seek to capture the true essence of our relationship. I am also confident that, in doing so, I speak not just for myself but for all the 180 million of my fellow Pakistanis”,
the President said while speaking at a banquet he hosted in honour of the visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Saturday night.
Besides Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly, members of the federal cabinet and parliamentarians, the banquet was attended by PML (N) Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, JUI(F) Chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, PML(Q) Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali, MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar and other political figures.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chiefs of the three armed services also attended the banquet.
President Zardari said there can be no doubt that Pakistan and China are, as described by President Hu Jintao, “truly good neighbours, close friends, trusted partners and dear brothers”.
He said, “Our fraternal bonds are rooted in the ethos of our people. Physical proximity, our common rivers and mountains and shared cultural and civilizational heritage has given depth and substance to our relations”. The President said in more recent times, the peoples of Pakistan and China have waged similar struggles against the forces of subjugation and oppression.
“We face common challenges and have enormous resilience and potential to overcome these,” he added. The President said Pak-China partnership is founded on an absolute convergence of interest that finds expression in the united and principled stance on all international and regional issues.
The people of Pakistan and China have stood shoulder to shoulder through every trial and tribulation because they cherish the same ideals: freedom, dignity, and the right to peaceful pursuit of development, he added. He said the presence of Chinese Premier is also gratifying because “we are on the eve of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China”.
He said because of the personal commitment of the Chinese leadership, the friendship of Pakistan and China has become a model relationship for the entire world.
“If our friendship has stood the test of time, it is because it was conceived under the personal direction of great leaders such as Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said adding successive Chinese and Pakistani leaders including my late wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, expended great effort for its further development.
As the President of Pakistan, he said he felt honoured that he is able to follow in their footsteps, and remain dedicated to continuing their work by bringing the two countries ever closer together.
“We are also committed to ensuring that our succeeding generations carry this flag of friendship hand in hand and take our partnership to ever greater heights,” he said adding China’s great economic transformation is nothing short of a modern-day miracle.
The President remarked that progress of China was a testimony to the wisdom and vision of its leadership, and the hard work and spirit of its people. “What other countries have achieved over the course of centuries, China has surpassed in a matter of 30 years. I can say this because I have personally witnessed this incredible change.”
The President said during his visits to China, he was impressed by the verve and energy of ordinary Chinese people, and their palpable sense of pride in the achievements of their country.
“I have had the opportunity to marvel at the technological wonder that is the Three Gorges Dam,” he observed.
He said he was enthralled by the spectacular opening ceremony of the Asian Games. “By achieving this miracle, I believe that China has re-written the rules and challenged age-old assumptions about economic development, and how to achieve it. And it has done so without compromising its fundamental values of modesty and humility.”
President Zardari said China has always lent its neighbours a helping hand in times of need as it did to Pakistan during this year’s floods as well as for the Attabad Lake affected people. “Indeed, for this generous and multi-faceted assistance, we are grateful to the leadership and people of China.”
President Zardari said he was convinced that developing countries in the region and indeed the world has much to learn from China’s experience.
“It gives me immense pleasure to note that almost 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, our friendship continues to grow,” he added. President Zardari said their friendship has not only been mutually beneficial and contributed to progress, development and social harmony within the two countries; it has also been an important factor for regional and international stability.
He called the Chinese Premier’s visit another watershed in the proud history of relations between the two countries and said he has no doubt it would serve to forge even closer bilateral ties and cooperation.
“I am sure “time-tested and all-weather” Pakistan-China friendship should soar to new heights under your able leadership and wise guidance,” he added.
The President wished the Chinese people peace, prosperity and more success in the future. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in his remarks on the occasion said China is proud of having a good friend and partner like Pakistan, adding, “we want to further strengthen our strategic partnership with Pakistan”.
He said Pakistan and China are connected with rivers and mountains, adding, the seeds of Pak-China friendship were planted by our older generations.
For decades, the two countries have been treating each other with sincerity and supporting each other on all international fora, the Chinese Premier said. “Our friendship is a valuable asset,” he remarked. Premier Wen said he was happy to note and feel the brotherly and friendly feelings of the people of Pakistan towards the people of China.
Referring to the recent devastating floods that hit Pakistan, the Chinese Premier said, “our hearts go to the affected people of Pakistan”, adding, one of the objectives of his visit was also to show solidarity with Pakistan. Premier Wen assured that China will do whatever it can to help Pakistan rebuild the flood affected areas and achieve a sustainable economic development.
He said the celebrations of 60th anniversary of Pak-China relations next year would also provide the opportunity to highlight even more brighter picture of Pak-China friendship through various events and exchanges of delegations from various walks of life. The Chinese Premier extended sincere wishes to the people and government of Pakistan. He wished well-being of the people of Pakistan as well as its leadership-APP