China says military ties "backbone" to relations with Pakistan

A file photo shows construction work in progress at a new international trade route which part of a sprawling Chinese initiative to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe, near Havalian in Pakistan. (AP)
Updated 19 September 2018

China says military ties "backbone" to relations with Pakistan

  • Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project
  • Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed

BEIJING: Military ties between China and Pakistan are the "backbone" of relations between the two countries, a senior Chinese general told Pakistan's visiting army chief, days after a Pakistani minister stirred unease about Chinese Silk Road projects.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the most senior Pakistani figure to visit ally China since the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August, and his trip comes a week or so after a senior Chinese diplomat visited Islamabad.

Pakistan has deepened ties with China in recent years as relations with the United States have frayed.

Bajwa may be hoping to smooth out any Chinese alarm at comments last week by Pakistan's commerce minister, Abdul Razak Dawood, who suggested suspending for a year projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Pakistan leg of China's Belt and Road Initiative that includes recreating the old Silk Road trading route.

On Tuesday, Zhang Youxia, a deputy chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission which President Xi Jinping heads, reiterated to Bajwa that the two countries are "all weather" strategic cooperative partners.

"China-Pakistan military ties are an important backbone of relations between the two countries," said Zhang according to a statement by China's Defence Ministry late on Tuesday.

"The two militaries should further pay close attention to practical cooperation in all areas, keep raising the ability to deal with various security risks and challenges, and join hands to protect the common interests of both countries."

However, Zhang cited Xi as saying that the Belt and Road initiative should be a benchmark for China-Pakistan ties.

He said China appreciated the new Pakistan government's platform of fully promoting the relationship and that China was willing to work with the new government to push construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Beijing has pledged to invest about $60 billion in Pakistan for infrastructure for the Belt and Road project.


Pakistan to observe ‘Day of Prayer’ every Friday to seek mercy against COVID-19

Updated 04 December 2020

Pakistan to observe ‘Day of Prayer’ every Friday to seek mercy against COVID-19

  • Ulema assure President Alvi mosque administrations will ensure social distancing during congregational prayers
  • Alvi says mosques and media have important role in raising awareness about COVID-19 health guidelines

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani president Dr. Arif Alvi has said starting December 4, ‘Youm-e-Dua,’ or day of prayer, would be observed every Friday to seek god’s mercy to protect people against the novel coronavirus.
He announced this after a delegation of ulema met him at the president house on Thursday, saying a 20-point Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) plan announced in April needed to be implemented to overcome a second wave of the coronavirus currently sweeping through Pakistan.
“The President mentioned that ulema had assured that the mosque administrations would ensure the proper safe-distancing during congregational prayers,” state news agency APP said. “The SOPs regarding mosques included proper distance among worshippers, disinfecting carpets and floors, ablution at homes before coming to mosques and bringing own prayer rugs.”
Alvi said mosques and the media had an important role to play in raising awareness about the importance of COVID-19 SOPs.
Government data released on Friday showed Pakistan had recorded 55 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, as the nationwide tally of fatalities jumped to 8,260 and infections reached 410,072.
After a peak of over 6,800 daily infections in June, the number fell to a low of 213 in August, and remained below 700 for most of the last three months. But there has been a sharp rise in new cases since last month.
Earlier this month, the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out a complete lockdown and decided to continue the “smart lockdown” policy with strict implementation of safety guidelines.
The country’s last comprehensive lockdown was lifted in May.