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Sino-Pakistani ties won't be harmed by adversaries

By Faisal Zahid Malik | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-03 08:59
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Consistent efforts have been made in past years to create a wedge between China and Pakistan, but the unique bilateral relationship has emerged unscathed amid the backdrop of the terrorist attack in Besham on March 26 that caused the deaths of five Chinese engineers of the Dasu Hydropower Project and their Pakistani driver.

Local people instantly flocked to the site of the tragedy to lend a helping hand.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Chinese embassy in Islamabad to express condolences. They also conveyed their firm resolve to punish the perpetrators.

It is not a coincidence that the Besham attack was carried out ahead of discussions of the two countries' leaders for making progress on projects in Pakistan.

The attack clearly targeted the bilateral ties, which have brought progress, development and prosperity to the people of Pakistan.

China is a reliable friend of Pakistan on economic and political collaboration. Conspiracies have always been hatched to weaken the bonds between the two nations, but such plans will not succeed in harming the epoch-marking project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The project is seen in Pakistan as a once-in-a-century opportunity to break the shackles of poverty and backwardness, especially in formerly neglected areas and regions.

However, the adversaries have made no secret of their designs to either scuttle the historic cooperation or slow down implementation of the multidimensional project. Thanks to the firm determination of the leadership of the two countries, the cooperation is proceeding successfully.

Concerns about the security and safety of the crew working on projects in Pakistan are legitimate. A similar terrorist attack targeting Chinese engineers occurred in 2021, after which the two sides worked out a comprehensive plan to beef up security arrangements. The convoy of the Chinese engineers targeted in the most recent attack included three vehicles of security personnel. There is an urgent need to review and revise the security protocol to minimize the risks, and that is what the government of Pakistan has vowed to do.

Chairing a high-level meeting, Prime Minister Sharif called for all-out efforts in a thorough joint investigation. He conveyed a strong message to terrorists: "We shall fight terrorism till every terrorist casting an evil eye on Pakistan, its people and their guests is eliminated; we shall not leave any stone unturned to ensure that every foreign citizen, especially the Chinese nationals contributing to the prosperity of Pakistan, is safe and secure in Pakistan. We shall fight terrorism with all our might, to the very end."

The terrorist attacks have failed to create a dent in the unrelenting resolve of the Chinese leadership and people to continue fostering ties with Pakistan. This resolve was reiterated by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian, who said that Pakistan and China have the determination and ability to make terrorists pay the price for their actions, and any attempt to undermine China-Pakistan cooperation will not succeed. This is a clear message that the two countries will not allow such conspiracies to create misunderstanding between the two trusted friends.

The Chinese spokesman firmly assured that China will continue to support Pakistan's economic and social development and efforts to improve the livelihood of its people. This, in fact, is in line with the repeated assurances of the Chinese leadership to continue to extend support to Pakistan in different spheres of life.

Against this backdrop, I firmly hope that the two countries will arrive at a comprehensive understanding to forge their ties in various sectors to mutual advantage. In fact, fast-paced implementation of ongoing projects and initiation of new ones would be the most fitting response to the designs of the enemy.

The author is chairman and CEO of the Pakistan Observer.

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