Islamabad (Khyber Mail): A multiparty delegation of seven parliamentarians, led by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and Pakistan-China Institute, recently visited China. This marks the first parliamentary delegation to visit China after the COVID crisis.

The delegation held a media briefing at Parliament House, highlighting the significance of this visit, which coincides with 10 years of CPEC, symbolizing the commitment of both Pakistan and China to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation at the people-to-people level, forming the core of the Pakistan-China strategic ‘all-weather’ partnership as ‘Iron Brothers’.

Senator Mushahid Hussain shared that the delegation, representing six political parties from all four provinces, visited China with a three-pronged purpose. Firstly, to reaffirm Pakistan’s Parliament and political parties’ commitment to promoting Pakistan-China friendship as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, regardless of any changes in the country or the region. Secondly, to learn from China’s experience of development and modernization to further advance CPEC in its second phase. And thirdly, to engage in discussions with Chinese counterparts on the rapidly changing situation in their neighborhood, fostering collective solutions to common challenges.

The delegation participated in high-level meetings with officials from China’s Foreign Ministry, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, prominent media outlets, and leading think tanks. These engagements aimed to gain first-hand insights into China’s developments and remarkable progress in areas such as poverty alleviation, technology, education, and industry. The discussions also focused on crucial matters of mutual interest, charting a course for deeper collaboration in various sectors.

During the interaction with Chinese officials, Senator Mushahid Hussain expressed gratitude for China’s timely diplomatic, military, and financial support, including the rollover of $5.7 billion in loans, which helped Pakistan avoid default. He assured China that all political parties in Pakistan, whether in government or opposition, firmly believe that China is the pillar and pivot of Pakistan’s foreign policy, and CPEC guarantees a brighter future for the nation.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by a changing regional and global scenario, with talk of a new Cold War and containment, Senator Mushahid Hussain emphasized the importance of countering information warfare, disinformation, and fake news aimed at destabilizing CPEC and undermining Pakistan-China ties and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Both sides agreed to forge a collective strategy to address this major challenge.

Senator Mushahid Hussain reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to stand with China in building a peaceful and prosperous Asia in the ‘Asian Century.’ He also commended the recent high-level visits by Pakistan military leaders to China and the successful outcome of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC held in Beijing.

The visit of the Parliamentary Delegation yielded tangible results, including the plan to organize an international conference in Islamabad in the first half of 2024, titled ‘Understanding China, Pakistan & Regional Changes,’ in cooperation with the influential think tank China Institute for Innovation & Developing Strategy (CIIDS) and Pakistan-China Institute. Furthermore, a CPEC Media Forum is set to be held in the last quarter of 2023, and efforts will be made to foster closer relations between cities and provinces of both countries, with a focus on poverty alleviation, agriculture, education, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), women’s development, culture, tourism, technology, and media cooperation.

China reaffirmed its unwavering support for Pakistan’s stability and socio-economic development, and both sides expressed solidarity with each other’s core interests.

The other members of the delegation also shared their insights during the press briefing. Dr. Mahesh Kumar Mallani highlighted the need for advanced coal technologies to facilitate cleaner and more efficient coal power projects. Mohsin Dawar advocated for enhanced educational cooperation, while Muhammad Abubakar emphasized vocational training collaboration. Ghous Bux Khan Maher stressed the importance of strengthened agricultural ties, and Dr. Nisar Ahmad Cheema urged joint research centers on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Senator Sana Jamali called for Pakistan-China collaboration on women empowerment and sister city and province arrangements.

Overall, the visit marked a significant step in strengthening the enduring friendship between Pakistan and China while collectively addressing common challenges and promoting mutual prosperity.

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