ISLAMABAD: Mushahid to head first Sino-Pak think tank

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By Asim Yasin

The Sino-Pak friendship on Thursday entered a new phase with the establishment of first non-governmental, non-partisan and non-political think tank.

“The Pakistan-China Institute with equal number of experts, scholars and intellectuals from China and Pakistan has been formed,” said Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League-Q Mushahid Hussain Sayed during a press conference here on Thursday.

He said since there was complete unanimity within Pakistan’s political and social fabric on the need for consolidating friendship between Pakistan and China, it was his pleasure to announce the establishment of the first Pakistani think tank devoted exclusively to promoting, strengthening and expanding Pakistan-China relations in different fields.

“This will be a non-governmental, non-party and non-political organisation. This think tank will work in key sectors of Pakistani state and society, including political parties, civil society, educational institutions, opinion leaders, media and business community,” remarked Mushahid Hussain.

Elaborating the objectives and functions of the think tank, Mushahid said the Pakistan China Institute will conduct policy research on promoting Pakistan-China cooperation and bringing the two countries closer in the areas of security (diplomacy, defence and foreign policy); trade, investment and economy; energy; education; and culture. “With its headquarters in Islamabad, the Pakistan-China Institute will explore ways and means to further strengthening the Sino-Pak ties since Pakistan-China relations are unique in international relations,” he said.

“Pakistan-China relations are friction-free, model relations between two neighbours, which are unequal in size, with different social systems. China has never interfered in Pakistan’s internal affairs and it has always provided aid and assistance without any conditions or strings attached. Moreover, China has always stood by Pakistan in every conflict and crisis and China is Pakistan’s all-weather friend,” he added.

Mushahid further said that the Pakistan-China Institute will be formally inaugurated on Thursday, October 1, 2009 with a function at the International Islamic University (Faisal Mosque Campus), Islamabad.

The Ambassador of China, Luo Zhaohui will be the chief guest on the occasion. He said that the Pakistan-China Institute will hold regular seminars and briefings on important developments pertaining to Pakistan-China relations and will also maintain an inter-active website.

Tabling his recommendations to the government for taking initiatives to cementing the Sino-Pak ties, the Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, Mushahid Hussain Sayed presented a three-point strategy to the government.

He said the government should establish an inter-ministerial and inter-provincial Special Task Force to implement in a speedy, coordinated manner the ongoing projects, initiatives and MoUs signed between the two governments.

Moreover, he said China had been expressing a legitimate concern about the activities of Uighur extremists in Fata operating under the name of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). “The government should take effective, remedial measures to meet this concern of our friend by purging the Pakistani soil of these fanatics,” recommended the former senator.

Mushahid further advised the government to ensure full protection and security to nearly 10,000 Chinese workers, experts and technicians working in Chinese aided projects in different parts of Pakistan.

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