Fight against terror: Don’t doubt Pakistan, Wen tells the West

Published: December 20, 2010
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao waves to the parliamentarians upon his arrival in the Parliament House. PHOTO : APP

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao waves to the parliamentarians upon his arrival in the Parliament House. PHOTO : APP

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed on Sunday to boost strategic cooperation with Pakistan and taking them to new levels as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Islamabad that concluded deals worth around 35 billion dollars.

“It is our collective objective to strengthen strategic ties between our two countries,” he told a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament before leaving to return to China on Sunday afternoon. The Chinese premier told cheering lawmakers that his country stood like a rock behind Pakistan at all times.

Wen said Beijing recognised Islamabad’s sacrifices in the global war against terror more than any other country.

The world should also realise Pakistan’s sincerity to eradicate al Qaeda from its lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, Wen said in a ‘veiled taunt’ countering US scepticism.

“Pakistan has paid a heavy price in combating terrorism. The fight against terror should not be linked with any religion or ethnic group and there should be no double standards,” Wen said as MPs burst into applause.

“The international community should affirm that and give great support as well as respect the path of development chosen by Pakistan,” he added.

This was the first time a Chinese leader publicly urged the western countries not to doubt Pakistan’s willingness to take war against terrorism  to its logical end.

The remarks come just days after US President Barack Obama in his yearly review of policy for the region mentioned ‘fragile gains’ against  al Qaeda but pushed Pakistan to ‘do more’.

Separately during the day, a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the visit said that both countries had decided to strengthen and consolidate their bilateral relations, especially in defence and energy sectors.

Upon his arrival in the parliament Wen was given a standing ovation not only by parliamentarians but also by top military and political leadership of the country present in guest galleries.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shamim Wynne and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani were among them.

Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza invited Wen for the address, as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Sher Muhammad Baloch raised the Pak-China Friendship slogan that responded by a resounding ‘Zindabad’ by everyone inside the assembly.

‘Brothers, we are’

In his speech, Jiabao called Pakistanis and Chinese ‘brothers’ – a gesture that is thought to carry a lot of weight in diplomacy.

The premier said ties between the neighbours were based on emotions instead of mere economic needs.

“To cement and advance the all-weather partnership of cooperation between China and Pakistan is our common strategic choice,” Wen said.

Wen said China believed that Pakistan will benefit from bilateral trade deals and increase its exports to China.

He also pointed towards plans by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of the largest lenders in the world, to open branches in Pakistan, and said China might explore a currency swap deal with Pakistan.

“Greater financial cooperation between China and Pakistan will provide a strong support for in-depth and sustained growth of our economic and trade ties,” Wen said.

The Chinese leader said that the strategic partnership between China and Pakistan was “in conformity with the national interests of the peoples of the two countries. It would help promote peace, stability and prosperity of the region”.

2011, a year of friendship with China: PM

Following the first-ever address by a Chinese premier to the National Assembly and Senate, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that Sino-Pak friendship was “taller than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey”.

Gilani said that today (Sunday) was an especially auspicious day for the parliament. He added that all political parties, all parliamentarians, and the whole nation stands united in determination to take the friendship and partnership with China to even greater heights. He said the Parliament of Pakistan will celebrate 2011 as the friendship year with China.

Leader of opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in response to Wen Jiabao’s address said: “Your each word is in our memory, in our heart and it would be in future legacy.”

Terming it a historic occasion, Chaudhry Nisar said to the Chinese premier, “You are a selfless, time tested friend, who had helped Pakistan at every crisis. I would like to stand up here before you and this august house and salute you, salute the Chinese leadership, salute the people of China and your great country for great friendship that you have with us.”

Similarly, PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab, Veteran politician Asfandayar Wali Khan and Adviser to the Prime Minister Asma Alamgir agreed that Jiabao’s address to parliament was historical and one which reflected the true spirit of strong bonds between the two countries.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said: “The speech of the Chinese premier to the joint session of parliament was the reflection of the emotion of both the nations.” (Agencies)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 20, 2010 - 7:56AM

    Long live Pak China Friendship!
    China is our ONLY friend. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Dec 20, 2010 - 8:13AM

    Not surprising – China praises and protects North Korea, Burma and Iran too….Pakistan has just joined this infamous group!!!Recommend

  • Syed Farrukh Hussain Shah
    Dec 20, 2010 - 9:34AM

    Thats great….our politicians shuold take this opportunity to further strengthen the friendship….and should tolerate america or any other country between Pakistan and China’s mutual interests….Recommend

  • Karim Mengal
    Dec 20, 2010 - 9:39AM

    Long Live Pak-China Friendship. Recommend

  • Rizwan T Khan
    Dec 20, 2010 - 9:51AM

    A very important visit by Chinese Premier. We welcome Mr Wen statements and thank him. Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman
    Dec 20, 2010 - 12:13PM

    I will defo say that Pakistan must take benefits from China. China is ready to give everything and every time. We must prolong our relations from Emotions to Economic market. People to people contact can increase the bilateral relations into brotherhood. India is taking benefits from china although it’s biletral relations with china are at the fire pan. Long Live Pak China Friendship…Recommend

  • Sher Khan Arab
    Dec 20, 2010 - 12:38PM

    This relationship with China begin in the 1960s at the country level,but one should not forget the deeprooted relationship at people level which is extends to centuries.The Wakhi people living on the border region of China had so deep affiliation with them as old as their civilization is.It would be good to mention here that the people living on the border now are part of one family living in two countries sharing same culture,beliefs and language.

    The people of Gojal (Border tehsil with China) used to put on badges of Mao Zedong and had great reverence for him and even today the old people of the area have kept those badges with them as sacred gift.

    One thing is important to mention here that if Pakistan is a friend of China with a body, then Gojal Tehsil and the people are the Feet of this friendship on wich it stands and they have kept it so strong that no one can imagine.But in the year 2010 the Government didnt do much better with these people of Gojal after the Attaabad Lake Diaster.the government should have takled about the cultural exchang of these people which are the real guardians of this friendship ,but unfortunately no consideration was given to this area and the people in this important visit.Recommend

  • Hannan
    Dec 20, 2010 - 1:47PM

    As the PM of Pakistan Put it and as it is the hearts of people of Pakistan. “The SinoPak friendship is taller than mountains, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey”
    The two time tested friends have always been there for each other.
    Be it Chinese recognition when it came into being under Chirman Mao’s leadership, be it’s permanent position in security council, be its trade with Mid East or be it’s military interests in warm waters of Arabian Sea, Pakistan and its people stood firm behind Chinese People.
    Whenever there was a problem in China, Pakistanis did all they could and felt their pain in our hearts. Whenever Pakistan asked a helping hand China lend it without prerequisites.
    I am proud of this friendship as a Pakistani and wish this landmark speech made by both Primiers in Pakistani parliment clear doubts of anyone on this planet about the all weather freidship China and Pakistan Enjoy,
    Long Live Pakistan China friendship.
    Together we grow and united we stand.
    and like the Premier Wen Jiabao said “We are Brothers” Recommend

  • Critic
    Dec 20, 2010 - 2:22PM

    @Arindom…well, according to American standards, how do you become “famous”? We tried every way and still failedRecommend

  • Muhammad+Kamran+Khan
    Dec 20, 2010 - 5:00PM

    China, The real friend of PakistanRecommend

  • Raju
    Dec 20, 2010 - 6:01PM

    Well said , Sino-Pak relations are deep rooted Pak must follow its friend
    Just be a communist state and shed off shadow democracy . Then extremism and religious high handedness will go You will be as developed as china Recommend

  • Cautious
    Dec 20, 2010 - 8:11PM

    China views Pakistan as a pawn in its dealing with India and the West – nothing more. Further – China isn’t found of any religion let alone Muslims.

    Being best buddies with China puts you in an exclusive club which includes N. Korea, Sudan, and Myanmar – you call that good company?Recommend

  • Outraged
    Dec 20, 2010 - 10:12PM

    @ Sher Arab – I also remember a time when the photographs and posters of Saddam Hussain were famous in that area and other parts of Pakistan! Recommend

  • Critic
    Dec 21, 2010 - 11:11AM

    @Cautious…..I’m afraid I smell some sour grapes and your claims would require some verification :)Recommend

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