Statement of Honourable Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the National Conference on “Pakistan-China Economic Cooperation – Next Level”
6 March, 2019
Chairman Institute’s Board of Governors, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood Your Excellency Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China
Director General, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry
Distinguished Speakers and Guests,
Asalam-o-alaikum and Good Morning!
I wish to express my gratitude to the Institute of Strategic Studies for inviting me to inaugurate today’s National Conference. I am pleased to note that this conference will address a subject that is high on the development agenda of our government.
I understand that the re-vitalized China centre of the Institute is engaged in a series of activities to deepen our partnership with China. We in the Ministry would welcome your constructive ideas for promoting tangible economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.
Let me also underscore the importance of the work being done by this Institute. Your policy inputs to the Foreign Ministry are deeply valued. As indicated by the Director General, I have visited this Institute twice to signify the expectation of the Ministry to receive quality inputs and advice from our researchers and scholars.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before I speak about the subject of this Conference, let me share with you my deep sense of satisfaction at the mature manner in which the nation of Pakistan has responded to the recent challenge posed by our eastern neighbour following the Pulwama incident. Prime Minister Imran Khan and I are fully committed to conducting our foreign policy in honour, dignity, and in the best national interest of Pakistan. This is what the people of Pakistan aspire. And this is what we would do. And in this context, our researchers and think tank community also have a responsibility. Your ideas and inputs would strengthen the hands of the leadership of PTI in conducting our foreign policy according to the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China is not only Pakistan’s neighbour, it is a good friend and what President Xi calls “iron brother”. Our friendship is premised on shared values and interests. We in Pakistan regard this relationship as a central component of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
From politics and diplomacy to economy and defence, the two countries are finding newer, impactful and progressive ways to ensure prosperity of our peoples, meeting the present and future challenges, and grasping the mutually beneficial opportunities for economic development.
The steady and close relationship between Pakistan and China is a positive factor for political stability of the region and its economic integration. This partnership is successfully countering forces that are opposed to regional harmony and globalization. In the post Pulwama crisis too, the Chinese leadership presented a sound advice for India and Pakistan to engage in a dialogue and resolve their disputes through peaceful means.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the recent years, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has infused greater depth to our relationship with China. The CPEC reflects the collective desire of both countries to usher our region into an era of shared prosperity.
The leadership of the two countries is now looking at what I would call CPEC plus. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s successful visit to China last year broke new grounds. Our two countries identified a new vision, a new development agenda that takes our economic cooperation to a whole new level of engagement.
This vision is rooted in our conviction to pursue a people-centred approach. We wish to expand our cooperation to areas such as science and technology, agriculture, social sector cooperation, blue economy, people to people and cultural linkages, and finding mutually beneficial ways of boosting Pakistan’s industrial capacity along with broadening our export base.
Undoubtedly, this leap forward is in accord with the government’s commitment to place Pakistan on the path of genuine and corruption-free progress and prosperity. In fact, taking CPEC plus as an impetus, other countries are also now investing in Pakistan. The Saudi Crown Prince’s successful visit last month is a testament to this growing international confidence in Pakistan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The new government inherited a difficult economic situation. Now, under the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Government of Pakistan has embarked on a set of policies, through which we are seeking collaborative arrangements with our foreign partners and bolstering confidence of domestic investors. Indeed, these measures will pay dividends in the years ahead and pave way for Pakistan to reach its true potential. We are determined and confident of our success, Insha’Allah. As Quaid e Azam advised us “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve”
Dialogue and exchange of views are imperative to address the challenges and opportunities that stud our way. I am pleased to note that scholars from reputed universities from all provinces are participating in this National Conference. I am further delighted that China-focused institutes from across the country are also attending this event.
We welcome effective platforms such as this Conference where young minds, thinkers and scholars come together to interact and produce constructive ideas. I wish the Institute and the participants success and look forward to receiving the outcome of their deliberations.