Pakistan prime minister arrives in China for two-day visit

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Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in China for a two-day official visit on October 08, 2019. (Photo Courtesy - Prime Minister Office)
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In this file photo, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, left, and China’s Premier Li Keqiang attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 3, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2019

Pakistan prime minister arrives in China for two-day visit

  • PM Khan will discuss regional developments including the situation in Kashmir
  • Will apprise the Chinese leadership of efforts to speed-up implementation of ongoing CPEC projects

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in China on Monday for a two-day official visit, PM Office said.
Khan is visiting Beijing upon the invitation of Prime Minister Li Keqiang and will discuss issues of regional and bilateral significance, including projects under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the top Chinese leadership, according to the official handout released by the country’s foreign office earlier in the day.
The premier will hold separate meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and PM Keqiang.
He is accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising top government officials, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, and Adviser on Commerce and Chairman BOI. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is also joining Khan’s meetings with the Chinese leadership, according to the statement.
“The Prime Minister will exchange views on regional developments including the state of peace and security in South Asia arising from the situation in occupied Jammu & Kashmir since 5 August 2019,” the statement added.
The foreign office said that the visit will be instrumental in further cementing Pakistan’s strategic ties with China along with “deepening bilateral trade, a commercial investment partnership.”
During the visit, Khan will interact with senior representatives of the Chinese business and corporate sector.
“Among other things, the Prime Minister will apprise the Chinese leadership of the government’s recent landmark decisions to speed-up implementation of ongoing CPEC projects as well as efforts to project CPEC as a High-Quality Demonstration Project of BRI,” the statement read.
Khan will discuss the expansion of projects under the CPEC framework besides cooperation in agriculture, industrial and socio-economic sectors.
Khusro Bakhtiar, Pakistan’s minister for planning who also oversees CPEC projects, dispelled the impression of a “slowdown” in CPEC.
Bakhtiar said that PM Khan will address during his visit the China-Pakistan Business Forum to further cement economic and trade exchanges between the two countries. He will also meet with Chinese entrepreneurs and heads of different companies during his visit, the minister added.
“Prime Minister’s visit to China is extremely important particularly coming at a point when the two countries have recently signed the second phase of free trade agreement which allows both the countries increased market access and reduced custom duties for their commodities,” Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, senior economist and joint executive director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), told Arab News.
“The visit will also pave way for a clearer understanding and way forward for the joint coordination committee of CPEC which will meet soon,” Ahmed said.
Political analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais said that “China has emerged as the largest investor in strategic sectors of energy, communications, and industrial infrastructure. After stabilizing the economy, Pakistan wants to engage China on joint business ventures, science, and technology, agriculture and railways, also it desires to expedite the ongoing CPEC projects.”
Khan may also seek China’s help in getting relief for the people of Kashmir by lifting of the two-month-long curfew imposed by India on the part of the disputed valley under its administrative control, Rais said.

Pakistanis among dead in Madinah bus accident

Updated 17 October 2019

Pakistanis among dead in Madinah bus accident

  • The crash took place when a privately chartered bus carrying 39 pilgrims collided with a loader
  • Reports indicate only four bus passengers survived the tragedy, some in critical condition

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic road accident that claimed the lives of 35 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

According to media reports, the accident happened when a privately chartered bus carrying 39 passengers collided with a loader near Madinah at about 7pm on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s foreign office confirmed in a press statement that “the deceased also include a certain number of Pakistani nationals.”

“Of the four survivors,” the handout continued, “there is one Pakistani named Mr. Akbar, who is seriously injured. The Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah has established contact with him and is in touch with the concerned Saudi authorities and staff of the King Fahad Hospital, Madinah, to ascertain details of casualties of Pakistani nationals.”

Reacting to the development, the foreign minister said his ministry was in touch with the Saudi authorities to ascertain the causes of the accident.

“Our diplomatic mission is in contact with the Saudi authorities to ensure that the injured get the best medical facilities and the bodies of the deceased are smoothly flown back to Pakistan,” Qureshi added.