Security ‘critical’ to China investment

Minister Liu calls for political consensus supporting CPEC

Kamran Yousaf June 22, 2024


A visiting Chinese minister on Friday called for enhanced security for his nationals in Pakistan, saying the volatile security situation shook the confidence of his country’s investors.

“We need to improve security and the business environment. Security threats are the main hazards disturbing CPEC cooperation,” remarked Liu Jianchao, the Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), while co-chairing the meeting of the Pakistan-China Joint Consultative Mechanism with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar.

Established in 2019, the JCM of political parties on CPEC is a regular consultation mechanism between the Communist Party of China and the political parties of Pakistan. Previous meetings were held on March 19, 2019 in Beijing and on August 20, 2020 virtually.

The senior leadership of all major political parties attended the event, including Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F, Hina Rabbani Khar of the PPP, Senator Syed Ali Zafar of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Munazza Hassan of the Istehkam Pakistan Party, National Party’s Senator Jan Muhammad, senior politicians Afrasiab Khattak and others.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said CPEC played a catalytic role in Pakistan’s socioeconomic development.

In the presence of representatives of the main political parties, the Chinese minister called for building a broad political consensus of support for CPEC. But the most important highlight of his written speech was the security situation and how it could impede progress on CPEC.

“As people often say, confidence is more precious than gold,” he said and went on to add: “In case of Pakistan, the primary factor shaking the confidence of the Chinese investors is the security situation.”

“Without security, the business environment, the security of the country, cannot really improve, which may in turn undermine development in the long run.”

He, nevertheless, expressed “deep appreciation” to the Pakistani police department and the governments and all law enforcement agencies in tracing “criminal suspects that have so badly sabotaged the security situation here in Pakistan, and also the Chinese”.

“And I’m sure that with the joint efforts, Pakistan will continue to be a destination for China’s investors and also for cooperation with the Chinese business people,” he added.

Further highlighting the steps needed to be taken, the Chinese minister said “we need to build a corridor for better life to drum up public support”. “Over the years, it (CPEC) has greatly improved people’s livelihood and advanced the development of Balochistan and other western regions. Yet, we are aware that people in different parts of the country have varied expectations for CPEC.”

“Moreover, some feel they are left behind and haven’t really benefited equally from the CPEC cooperation. Together with the Pakistani government, we hope we will respond to the calls of people from across the Pakistan security society, especially those who live along the route of the corridor, and accelerate the building of a corridor for better life that will benefit more people.”

He hoped that the Pakistani side could take action to garner more public support for CPEC. “We need to build a favourable media environment through better communication. We are encouraged by the sincere support of the Pakistani people for CPEC and the positive coverage of mainstream media on CPEC.”

“But there are also some jarring noises from time to time. Some external forces have been spreading misinformation to smear the project and erode its public support. We must take it seriously,” he stressed.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said the CPEC played a catalystic role in Pakistan’s socioeconomic development.

He said besides ridding the country of a chronic issue of load-shedding, the development projects under the CPEC helped create hundreds of new employment opportunities for the Pakistani people which the people of Pakistan would never forget.

Recalling the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China, the deputy prime minister said both sides showed unanimity to execute the second phase of CPEC besides signing the modalities for third-party participation in the project.

He reiterated that Pakistan was committed to promoting people-to-people linkages as both countries stood with each other through thick and thin.

Dar said the CPEC constituted a vital pillar of the Pak-China economic and strategic partnership and that there was complete unanimity on its significance as it catalyzed Pakistan’s endeavors toward socioeconomic prosperity and regional connectivity.

He said as the two countries were witnessing a high-quality second phase of CPEC with both sides prioritizing the agriculture, information technology, industry and mining and mineral sectors.

Meanwhile, Liu Jianchao met Army chief General Syed Asim Munir at the General Headquarters. During the meeting, both discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional peace and stability, and reviewed progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The COAS reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the strategic partnership with China and pledged full support for the successful implementation of CPEC, a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Liu Jianchao highlighted that he is visiting Pakistan as a follow up of the successful meetings between the leadership of the two countries in China. He emphasized the significance of the longstanding brotherly relations between the two nations and expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved on CPEC, reiterating China’s commitment to its timely completion.

The visiting dignitary also commended Pakistan’s efforts in maintaining regional peace and stability, acknowledging the support of the Pakistan Armed Forces in providing security to Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan.

Liu Jianchao, Minister of International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), also called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad. The prime minister hosted a banquet in honor of Mr Liu Jianchao and the accompanying Chinese delegation which was also attended by representatives of major political parties.



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