SOCIETY HEALTH AND SAFETY
COLUMN FOR THE RECORD
POLITICS & POLICY 1- REPERCUSSIONS OF US-IRAQ WAR ON PAKISTAN
2-
PM'S VISIT TO CHINA
COMPANY PROFILE 1- A DECADE OF COMMITMENT
2-
MARI GAS COMPANY LIMITED
3-
PSO REGAINS LEADERSHIP ROLE UNDER TARIQ KIRMANI 
 

PM'S VISIT TO CHINA

 

This visit has also provided an opportunity to enhance economic cooperation and find new avenues

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From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI, 
Islamabad
Mar 31 - Apr 06, 2003 
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The China visit is almost a ritual with Pakistani heads of state and government; reflecting the strong bonds existing between the two countries, and is usually one of the first trips that they make after taking office. It is not uncommon for a Pakistani leader with a relatively longer tenure to make two or three such trips during his or her tenure. However, Mr. Zafarullah Khan Jamali as not gone only for the usual review of the Sino-Pak relationship as it stands, for a discussion of issues of mutual interest, and a sort of introductory session, that is the normal agends for such visits. But the visit was in the midst of a war in the Middle East, which Pakistan feels affects its vital interest. Both China and Pakistan have come out with a negative reaction to the US attack on Iraq, and called for an immediate end to the conflict so Mr. Jamali's visit provides an ideal opportunity for Pakistan and China to concert measures on the Iraq crisis, and work out a common approach on how to initiate the necessary diplomatic steps needed to bring pressure on the US to move towards a swifter peace.

The US will figure in other aspects of the discussions as well China is among those states which is not entirely comfortable with the presence of US troops in the region, and as one the USA's hosts, Pakistan has been careful to take China into confidence on the issue. This issue becomes increasingly pressing in the wake of the probability that, apart from the Gulf, Pakistan itself, Afghanistan and two Central Asian states, the US will also have a substantial military presence in Iraq. Mr. Jamali also apprised President Hu and Prime Minister Wen of the latest developments on the Kashmir issue. The parameters of the war on terror also need review, as China is as disturbed like Pakistan by their expansion on the one hand to include the invasion of Iraq, and their constraction on the other hand, to exclude freedom struggles such as in Kashmir and Palestine.

This visit has also provided an opportunity to review the progress made on the agreement already reached to enhance economic cooperation and find new avenues to promote bilateral relations in different fields. During President Musharraf last visit to China it was felt that China and Pakistan, despite sharing strategic interest, have lagged behind in economic cooperation and some concrete proposals were discussed to improve trade and economic relations and increased cooperation in defence production. A concrete proposal for joint fighter aircraft development programme was also discussed.

Besides reviewing the progress on the existing agreement during this visit, China has agreed to help setting up another 300 megawatt nuclear power plant at Chashma. In this connection, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in presence of the Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Two other MoUs were signed under which the Chinese government will further help developing Pakistan Railways system for which the Chinese government has to extend a soft-term credit of about $500 million. Mr. Shaukat Aziz inked these MoUs. A seperate MoU was also signed under which Chinese government has declared Pakistan a popular tourist destination, and agreed to help arranging and facilitating tourist groups.

 

 

The two sides also signed and agreement on the occasion, under which the Chinese government will provide a grant of $9 million under the Sino-Pakistan economic and technical cooperation programme. Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Pervez Butt inked the MoU regarding the nuclear power plant. While the Chinese side was represented by the head of Chinese Nuclear Power Authority. Pervez Butt after the signing ceremony told newsmen that two countries would soon sign a formal agreement in this regard. He said the plant had been proposed to be established within a period of six years. He said the total financial help to be provided by the Chinese government was being negotiated.

Under the MoU on railways, the Chinese agreement will provide Pakistan 200 passenger coaches, in addition to 175 already agreed upon. Beside this, financial and technical help would also be extended for provision of total 2500 freight coaches. It was also decided that the Chinese companies would increase the number of locomotive from 75 to 175, for Pakistan Railways. The MoUs also envisages provision of 40 electronic locomotives. Besides, the Chinese government would help for revitalisation and rehabilitation of Karachi Circular Railway.

China and Pakistan also agreed to keep close contact on the Iraq crisis with a view to prevent the suffering of the Iraqi people. The two sides expressed similar views on Iraq situation and expressed concern over the suffering of Iraqi people. Both sides opposed military action and underlined the need for its immediate end. The war is not the solution of the problem, the two premiers added.