By S.M. Hali
Pakistan’s ties with People’s Republic of China are exemplary. With the recent landmark visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Islamabad, Sino-Pakistan relations were elevated to that of ‘all-weather strategic cooperation partners’, which ushers in a new era of friendship between the two countries.
In consonance with the execution of the principles of friendship, H.E. Mr. Sun Weidong, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan continues his outreach to various segments of Pakistani society and visits to locations where projects have been launched with Chinese cooperation since the development in underdeveloped areas of Pakistan was a priority under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
As part of this noble agenda, Mr. Sun Weidong visited Multan from July 10th to 11th, 2015. The trip was planned in a manner that the Chinese ambassador could meet with the local administration to exchange views on strengthening friendship and bilateral cooperation as well as personally visit different sites.
China is fully cognizant of the crisis the people of Pakistan are facing due to energy shortage and has taken various steps to alleviate the problem. The CPEC, which is an array of various projects, also focuses on enabling Pakistan to meet the challenge of energy deficiency head on.
Ambassador Sun’s first site-visit was to the Fatima 2x60MW Bagasse Power Plant, which has been constructed by a Chinese contractor. The plant is an important step towards meeting the demands for energy in a cost effective manner applying technology which meets the demands of environment protection. It is heartening to note that the engineers responsible for the structure and completion of the Fatima 2x60MW Bagasse Power Plant have applied advanced and environment-friendly technology, thus ensuring that it will become a high-efficiency biomass power plant and add electricity to the Pakistani grid after its completion in 2016.
The next port of call by the Chinese Ambassador was to a Chinese Cotton Ginning Company and Multan Cotton Research Station. This project is part of China’s resolve establish a cotton industrial chain in Multan and extend cooperation in the field of agriculture. The Multan Cotton Research Station is part of the China-Pakistan Joint Bio-Tech Laboratory. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of the MoU of this Joint Laboratory in April this year. The Research Station has bred 16 cotton varieties of antivirus, heat and drought tolerant species. This is especially relevant for an area, where temperatures soar high and water shortage affects cultivation of high yield crops.
Whereas Pakistan is seeking the expansion of its industrial base with Chinese cooperation, recognizing Pakistan’s strength in an agro-based economy, China is seeking the possibility of expanding the agriculture cooperation between the two countries. This is a noble gesture and the hallmark of a true friend and well wisher, who seeks to support Pakistan achieve optimum utilization of its resources.
Ambassador Sun Weidong also encouraged Chinese companies to participate in the construction of power projects in Pakistan so that the miseries of the people in the sweltering heat with long power outages is allayed at an early date.
Ambassador Sun reiterated China’s support to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including infrastructure construction and production capacity cooperation. The Chinese Ambassador is mindful of the fact that the year 2015 is the year of “Friendly Exchanges between the People of China and Pakistan” and in pursuit of the same principle, during his visit, Sun Weidong stressed that China will provide scholarship sponsored by the Chinese government for students in Multan, to study in China. This way China is investing in the future of Pakistan, ensuring that the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries will be passed on from generation to generation.
The visit of the Chinese Ambassador to the historic city of Multan is of great relevance and speaks volumes for the interest of a true friend in the capacity building of common Pakistanis and enabling them to reach economic prosperity.
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