CPEC will help Asia become master of its own destiny: Sherry

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in Senate Sherry Rehman has said that high-level contacts and multi-sectoral cooperation between Pakistan and China are a manifestation of the fact that both sides accord high importance to bilateral relations and desire to further deepen ties for mutual benefit.

She expressed these views while talking to Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing Ambassador who called on her at the Parliament House on Friday.

She said that Pakistan and China have a history of friendship, which was built by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mao Tes-tung and both the countries have stood by each other and seen the vicissitudes of time. She said that the historic friendship had remained beneficial for both in economic and strategic fields while initiatives like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative have added further impetus to bilateral relations between the two sides. She said that former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari always placed Pak-China relations in highest regards and consensus exists across party lines in relations with China.

Rehman said that it was clear that Asia was rising and that its people needed to be the master of their own destiny by controlling their own resources and harnessing the tremendous economic potential of a connected continent. China’s BRI will connect one ocean to another with its projection of economic power and infrastructure across Eurasia, she maintained.

“We hope that the CPEC will generate more jobs and more opportunities for Pakistani youth and expedite social and economic development. She appreciated the fact that Chinese envoy was further proactive in consolidating the Pakistan and China friendship.

The Chinese ambassador informed the senator about the projects initiated under CPEC and said that 14 projects under CPEC are capable of generating 70,000 employment opportunities for the youth of Pakistan and more projects are in the pipeline, which would further provide opportunities to the youth of the country in terms of jobs. He said that locals were a priority in all the CPEC projects.

Reacting to the ambassador’s remarks, the senator said: “Our youth is highly capable and has the potential to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of the country.”

She also expressed her good wishes to the government and people of China and underscored the need for more parliamentary interaction to promote people-to-people contact. She said that the Pakistan-China Friendship group in the Senate would be revived to institutionalise the bilateral relationship.

Published in Daily Times, May 12th 2018.