Pak-China strategic cooperation

President Xi Jinping assured China’s continued support for Pakistan’s sustainable economic and strategic projects including the Main Line-1 (ML-1) rail track and announced an additional assistance package of RMB 500 million for flood relief activities. During a meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Xi reaffirmed their mutual commitment to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and agreed that both sides would make joint efforts to launch the ML-1 as an early harvest project under the CPEC framework. Both leaders also acknowledged the need for a mass-transit project in Karachi and agreed to finalize all formalities for the launch of the Karachi Circular Railway.

During the recent visit, both sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation in online payment systems, logistics, and customs facilitation, and enhance collaboration in this field.

The Chinese government has recently introduced the Global Development Initiative (GDI) aims at the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) for the enhancement of China’s defense and security cooperation with friendly and like-minded nations in the future. Pakistan has supported both initiatives of the Chinese government and expressed willingness to further enhance cooperation with Beijing under GDI and GSI frameworks.

Pak-China strategic cooperation equally benefits Beijing and Islamabad and offers a win-win situation to both nations. Pakistan’s peculiar security perspective, Kashmir and Afghan issues largely marred Pakistan’s economy. Currently, Pakistan needs a fundamental change to transform itself from a security state to a welfare state and gradually reduce cultural and trade barriers while promoting regional connectivity, transit trade, and visa-free travel to facilitate trade and tourism in the country.

In this movement, Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) between Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan is an important pillar of regional connectivity, transnational, and transit trade among the member nations. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered a very crucial phase during which the construction of the ML-1 railway track and most important B2B activities would take place. Previously, the PML-N government agreed on capacity payments to IPPs in 2014 which seriously damaged the national economy, hence the current rulers should be careful while dealing with foreign nations and corporations so this endeavor brings prosperity and comfort to the public instead of adding their woes.