Dr. Salman Shah (Adviser to Chief Minister, Punjab): The visit of Shah Mahmood Qureshi comes at a very important time keeping in view the current regional developments. Situation in Afghanistan is changing after the withdrawal of international troops. Our neighboring country does not want stability in Afghanistan due to its strategic designs. China is world’s second largest economy and the countries neighboring it will benefit from Chinese assistance and cooperation in their development and prosperity. China wants to develop relations with countries on the basis of trade and commerce. It is anticipated that geo-economics will hold precedence over geopolitics in the next few years. China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship project of Road and Belt Initiative and will play a key role in Pakistan’s development.
Dr. Khurram Iqbal (IR Expert): Pakistan China friendship is deep rooted and long-term. Pakistan was in the Western bloc in 1950s but after Indo-China war both countries started coming closer to each other. Economic convergence developed between Pakistan and China in diverse fields is getting stronger over time. China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a lynchpin of Road and Belt Initiative of China. First phase of CPEC has successfully been completed and now we have embarked into the second phase under which Chinese manufacturing base will come into Pakistan. This will totally transform the economy of Pakistan. Belt and Road Initiative is being perceived as against western hegemony. If Pakistan develops under CPEC, India feels Islamabad could develop its military muscle that could challenge Indian hegemonic designs in the region.
Naghmana Hashmi (Former Ambassador): Pakistan China relations are very old and span into diverse sectors. Both countries stand together and consult each other on all important regional and international issues. China is a rising economic power and its Road and Belt Initiative is a mega project of investments in various countries. Many Western countries are concerned over the rising influence of Beijing and they are busy in making negative propaganda against it. Some of our neighbors are also envious of strengthening relations between Pakistan and China and want to disrupt these ties. However, these efforts are doomed to failure as Pak, China friendship stands on strong footings. All Pakistani and Chinese leaders have worked hard over the years to solidify the bilateral relations. The current visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to China is part of this confidence on each other.