URUMQI: President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to fighting and rooting out terrorism and extremism from its soil and assured China Pakistan’s fullest cooperation in defeating the evils of extremism, terrorism and secessionism.
Zardari, who is in China to attend the first China-Eurasia expo, said Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and would spare no effort in rooting out this menace. The President expressed these views during his meeting with the political leaders of Xinjiang Ughur Autonomous Region led by Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang, Zhang Chunxian here on the sidelines of the first China-Eurasia Expo held in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, from September 1 to 5.
Other leaders included Governor of Xinjiang Nur Bekri, Chairman of the Standing Committee of Xinjiang Peoples Congress Aligeng Yimingbahai, Chairman of the Xinjiang Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council (CPPCC) Aisihaiti Kelimubai, Leader of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Che Jun, Executive Vice Governor of Xinjiang Huang Wei, Member of the Standing Committee of CPC Xinjiang Regional Committee Bai Zhijie, Vice Governor of Xinjiang Arkin Tuniyazi, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian and senior officials.
From the Pakistan side, the meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Defence Minister Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr. Asim Hussain, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhary Abdul Majeed, Chairman Board of Investment Salim H. Manviwala, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan and spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.
Briefing media after the meeting, Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that President Zardari while talking about the close and deep rooted relations Pakistan enjoyed with China, said that his daughters were accompanying him on the visit, which is a proof of generation to generation ties between the two countries.
He also mentioned the forthcoming visit of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to China later this week to attend the International Political Conference and said it shows Pakistan and China were looking to strengthen relations at political parties level.
Trade and cultural ties between Pakistan and Xinjiang
Zardari said that since Xinjiang and Pakistan have a shared cultural heritage and long history of close cooperative ties, his country was determined to enhance and strengthen relations with Xinjiang, adding, the two sides share aspirations for peace, harmony and prosperity.
He recalled that Khunjerab border was first trade route opened by China with any of its neighbours, adding, there was a need to focus on developing close economic and trade links.
The President said immense scope existed for investments and joint ventures between Pakistan and Xinjiang in diverse fields including agriculture, food processing, minerals and energy sector.
“We are glad that Xinjiang and Kashgar are preparing themselves to connect China to Central Asia, to South and West Asia, to the Middle East, and to Europe.”
Zardari said Xinjiang’s economic development was extremely impressive, adding, the development has provided an opportunity for Pakistani entrepreneurs to enhance bilateral and trade investment.
Establishing economic zones
The President also stressed on developing an overland trade facilitation regime by Integrated Border Management and to develop a Trans border Economic Zone between Xinjiang and Northern Pakistan.
He also stressed on the need to enhancing connectivity by rail, road and air links, adding, Pakistan wanted to reap full benefits of Kashgar Special Economic Zone. “We offer our territory and ports for Chinese trade.”
He said since Pakistan considers Kashghar as an intersection for facilitating and promoting communications of China with Pakistan and Central Asia and beyond, there was a need for establishing an air link between Kashgar and Pakistan.
He said as Pakistan and China are good friends and strategic partners, there was need to enhance and further strengthen relations in education, culture and tourism as well as increased people to people contacts and close collaboration at the level of scientists, scholars and researchers on the issues of environment, climate change, melting of glaciers and on biodiversity.