It is a festive mood in Pakistan as the National Day of China is being celebrated. Many activities have been witnessed there starting from the beginning of September to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad organized a reception with beautiful cultural activities and served the guests with Chinese food. Several cultural troupes have been performing Chinese cultural drills. Chinese companies in Pakistan also have celebrated the National Day with full spirit and organized various activities involving the huge number of Pakistani friends and employees. Pakistani media has been projecting China’s National Day within print media as special feature articles regarding China as well as through digital media offerings that are Chinese documentaries.
Many universities and schools have organized various activities to celebrate, including essay and poetry competitions, photo exhibitions and cultural shows etc. Think Tanks in Pakistan have been organizing seminars and conferences regarding China as part of the celebrations.
The entire “Iron Brother” nation congratulates our Chinese brothers and sisters on the occasion of National Day. The month of October will be full of activities specific to celebrate Chinese National Day. It shows the deep friendship between the two neighbors, partners in development, and having a shared destiny of real “Iron Brothers.”
The whole Pakistani nation warmly congratulates the people and leadership of China on the occasion of National Day. We highly admire and appreciate the development of China, especially during the last four decades. We believe it is all due to the visionary leadership of China and the right reforms and policies introduced by the Chinese government. Of course, we also acknowledge the hard work and sincere efforts of the common man in China for the rapid development of the country.
Although the first official delegation of the government of Pakistan visited China on January 4, 1950, just three months after the establishment of People’s Republic of China but the roots of our relations goes back to 2000 years ago, when Chinese Monks like “Fa Xian” and “Xuan Zang” visited the areas which became Pakistan for studying Buddhism.
In the beginning, relations between Pakistan and China were mostly political and diplomatic in nature. There were frequent exchange visits of the leaderships of both countries. The two nations supported each other on domestic issues, as well as on regional and international issues.
The foreign offices of both countries maintained close coordination, which resulted in complete harmony in world affairs. They made major progress in the regard of bilateral ties, and many memoranda pertaining to understanding and agreements were signed between the two countries.
The economic cooperation era was initiated in July 2013 when Pakistan and China inked a historic framework agreement for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will link Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea and Kashghar in Xinjiang in northwestern China.
It was further strengthened in April 2015 when President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Pakistan. During the visit, 51 agreements and MoUs including the plan for CPEC, were signed. President Mamnoon Hussain conferred Pakistan’s highest civil award, Nishan-i-Pakistan, to his Chinese counterpart on April 21, 2015.
With the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative and the signing of the CPEC agreement, relations between Pakistan and China have entered a new era. In addition to the already strong relationship, economic relations have improved exponentially.
Chinese investments are pouring into Pakistan, and several mega-projects have been launched in the aspects of power generation and transmission. Basic infrastructure such as motorways, railways, airports, seaports, oil and gas pipelines, and optical-fiber linkages are being upgraded and strengthened. Most of these projects have been completed or are nearing the completion stage.
Chinese nationals are coming in to help build a stronger and viable Pakistan. People-to-people contact has increased tremendously. The number of flights between the two countries has increased. Cultural exchanges are increasing by means of students learning Chinese and cultural troupes visiting each other.
Pakistani students now consider China as one of the most desirable destinations for higher education.
Sino-Pakistani friendship has expanded in all dimensions and has been forged into a strategic partnership. In fact, Pakistan has entered a new era in terms of its relationship with China.
To date, CPEC’s progress is satisfactory. The early harvest projects meet the timelines in most cases. However, CPEC is entering the next phase and Pakistan will launch special economic zones and China will move some of its industry into Pakistan. The Pakistani private sector is gearing up for joint ventures with Chinese counterparts.
Industrialization will generate an abundance of job opportunities and increase national productivity in Pakistan. The industrial output will meet the requirements of the domestic market, eventually reducing Pakistan’s import bill, while excess products will be exported, reducing the trade gap and becoming a major source of foreign exchange.
Agriculture is Pakistan’s economic backbone and will remain a key feature in CPEC’s next phase. The mineral sector is another area that needs attention and will see a surge in the next phase.
The real potential for growth of economic ties between China and Pakistan is huge. China and Pakistan will work hand in hand to achieve a prosperous future.
Long live Pakistan-China friendship. “Zhong-ba you yi wan sui”.
Zamir Ahmed Awan