Islamabad (Web Desk): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that Pakistan will not accept any pressure to change its relations with China.
Interacting with the Chinese media on the occasion of centenary celebrations of Communist Party of China (CPC), the premier said that relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep, it’s not just the governments, but it’s people to people relationship,” he added.
“Whatever will happen…[the] relationship between our two countries, no matter what pressure is put on us, is not going to change,” the Prime Minister said in response to a question.
He mentioned the US-sponsored regional alliance, ‘Quad’ including India and a couple of other countries, and said it was part of a great power rivalry in the region that could create problems.
“Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the US and other western powers……[to ask]…for countries like Pakistan to take sides. Why should we take sides? We should have a good relationship with everyone,” he said.
The prime minister said China always stood by Pakistan in difficult times. This is why the people of Pakistan have special place in their heart for their Chinese friends.
PM Imran, while commenting on the situation of Muslims in China's Xinjiang, said through interaction with Chinese officials, the government knows that what’s happening in Xinjiang is completely different to the version given by the Western media and the Western governments.
“So, because we have a very strong relationship with China and because we have a relationship based trust, we actually accept the Chinese version.”
“What they say about their programs in Xinjiang, we accept it.”
“Secondly, we find it a little bit hypocritical. When there are much worse human rights issues in the world, which [should] get more attention, for instance, Kashmir is a huge human rights issue.” "Western media hardly comments on this [Kashmir]," he added.
Responding to a question, Imran Khan said China stands out the way they coped with COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are also thankful to China for donating vaccine which helped Pakistan better tackle with the pandemic,” the PM said.
About Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the breakout of civil war in the country will have serious consequences for the region. Therefore, he said, Pakistan wants political settlement in Afghanistan at all costs.
Earlier, felicitating China on the 100th anniversary of the CPC, Imran Khan said Pakistan admires President Xi Jinping as one of the greatest statesmen of modern world. He said that President Xi 's drive against corruption and the way he brought millions of people out of poverty is really admirable.
PM Imran reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to further strengthen relations with China in the spheres of politics, trade and economy.
“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a project that gives us optimism and hope for future economic development,” the premier noted.
He said that a high level committee has also been constituted to monitor progress on the CPEC related projects and make sure there is no impediment in their way.
Khan said he is also going to Gwadar next week to oversee the pace of corridor related projects.
He added that his visit to China is also in the offing which will focus on further strengthen the bilateral relationship.
The prime minister said Pakistan hopes to attract the Chinese industries in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established under the second phase of the CPEC.
“We are also looking to benefit from the Chinese expertise in the agriculture sector to bolster the productivity of this sector of the economy,” the PM said.