Islamabad: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has declared that his country stands firmly with Pakistan in getting through tough time and overcoming multi-dimensional challenges. He was addressing the join session of the Parliament in Islamabad this morning. He is the first Chinese leader to have addressed the Parliament of Pakistan.
Mr. Wen Jiabao referred to the difficulties being faced by Pakistan and assured that China would firmly support the country in its efforts to safeguard independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. He pointed out that in recent years in the face of complex external environment and severe challenges, Pakistan has remain committed to independent foreign policy and firmly safeguard its sovereignty. It has opposed foreign interference and effectively developed equally positive and stable relations with neighbours countries.
The Chinese Prime Minister said Pakistan is upholding national unity, political harmony and social stability besides maintaining steady growth of economy and improved lives of the people. He said with firm will, admirable wisdom and hardwork, Pakistan has gained dignity and development.
He said Pakistan is confronted by many difficulties and challenges and is now at a crucial juncture yet the government and people of Pakistan are undeterred, they have worked in unity and created favourable conditions to safeguard national security, stability and development. Mr. Wen Jiabao said these efforts have broad sympathy and understanding and support from the international community.
He said China has no doubt that Pakistan will tide over difficulties as its people have resilience and potential to grow and prosper. The Chinese Prime Minister referred to the all weather friendship between the two countries and said China has offered Pakistan sincere help in its economic and social development.
He also lauded Pakistan for extending consistent, valuable and full support over Taiwan issue, securing of permanent berth for China in UN Security Council and establishing closer relations with the United States.
It is significant that the Chinese Prime Minister announced that the two countries have common interest and broad consensus on major international issues like UN reforms, Millennium Development Goals, climatic change and food and energy security. He said China Pakistan should make joint efforts to meet the challenges of promoting harmonious and sustainable development of the world.
The Chinese Prime Minister received a big applause from the parliamentarians when he categorically stated that the fight against terrorist should not be linked with any particular religion or ethnic group. There should be no double standards, he added.
Mr. Wen Jiabao emphatically said that we should address both symptoms and root causes of terrorism.He said Pakistan has paid a heavy price in the international counter-terrorism campaign and made important contributions. He said China’s position in this regard is clear and firm. It is ready to make tireless efforts and intensify coordination and cooperation with Pakistan and the entire international community.
The Chinese Premier also announced important announcements to boost closer cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields and strengthen its economy.
He said China welcomes Pakistan’s efforts to seek preferential terms in bilateral Free Trade Agreement to expand exports of Pakistan to China. China would support Pakistan’s endeavour to development through expanded international trade and investment cooperation. It is ready to advance cooperation in energy, transport and infrastructure development. He said during his visit the Chinese private sector has signed commercial contracts worth about ten billion dollars with Pakistani entrepreneurs.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has gained permission to open its branches in Islamabad and Karachi. China has agreed with Pakistan to carry out work for greater financial cooperation between the two countries and will provide a strong support for indepth and sustainable growth for economic and trade partnership.
He said the two countries should expand people to people and commercial exchanges. Next year has been designated as year of China-Pakistan friendship.
China has decided to provide five hundred Government scholarships to Pakistan in the next three years. Next year, one hundred Pakistani high school students would also be invited to China as part of efforts to promote people to people contacts. Chinese doctors would come to Pakistan to perform one thousand cataract operations in Pakistan in two years.
He said China also supports continuation of the programme under which one hundred Pakistan and Chinese young people visit each country every year. The Chinese Prime Minister said Pakistan is a major country and an important member of the Islamic world. China would work with it to bolster regional cooperation, promoting dialogue among civilizations and upholding cultural diversity.
He said China would take active part in post-flood reconstruction phase. He noted that many Chinese aid workers have laid down their lives in trying moments of severe flood in Pakistan. Pakistani soldiers and civilians, braving dangers to their own lives, rescued 268 Chinese workers in Pakistan.
In his vote thanks, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said that all the political parties , the parliamentarians and the whole nation stands united in determination to take partnership and friendship between the two countries to even greater heights.
The prime minister said that the visit of the Chinese premier marks the beginning of 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Pakistan will celebrate next year as friendship year with China. He said Pakistan China friendship is highter than mountains, deeper than the ocean, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.
Prime Minister Gilani said that Pakistan and China enjoy unique relationship and the sentiments of love and affection and deep affinity is rooted in the hearts and minds of the peoples of the two countries. We consider China as the most reliable friend and share each other’s joys and sorrows.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan rejoices the successes achieved by China which has also borught modesty to the conduct of global affairs. The Prime Minister thanked the Chinese premier on behalf of the government, the people and members of the parliament for addressing the joint sitting of the parliament.
Earlier welcoming the Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao, Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza said It is a historic day in the collective parliamentary history of our two countries as this is for the first time that our parliament is being addressed by a Chinese leader.
She said that Pak-China relations are deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of people as this has withstood the testing times. She said that Pakistan will never forget Chinese assistance for the flood affectees at a time when they were facing the same calamity.
Fehmida Mirza said that the emotional attachment between the two countries has translated into a meaningful economic and political partnership spreading over diverse areas including agriculture, science, technology, health and human resource development. Such cooperation and mutuality of interests on all issues is a distinguishing hallmark of our relationship.
In his remarks, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said that the stirring speech of the Chinese Premier in this house has set new dimensions and benchmarks for future of Pak-China relationship. Describing the Chinese Premier address as historic, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said that members of the parliamentarians from each nook and corner of the country have attended the session which reflects the the love and esteem that our people accord to China.
He said that Pakistan is mired in lot of controversies but there is no difference of opinion on the friendship with China. Our friendship with China transcends political parties, personalities the government and the opposition. Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said that we are passing through difficult times but efforts are being made to ward off the difficulties with the assistance of time tested friend China. God willing, Pakistan will rise again and prove as a true and fast friend of China.
After prorogation of the joint session, the Chinese Prime Minister shook hands with the parliamentarians. Later, he left for home on completion of successful three day visit to Pakistan. Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani bade the farewell to the guest at Chaklala airbase.