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Remarks of the Ambassador at HMC’s online signing ceremony

June 18,2020

The following is the text of the Ambassador’s remarks at the online signing ceremony of business cooperation agreements between the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) and six leading Chinese enterprises.

Excellency, Ambassador Yao Jing,
Distinguished Chief Guest, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Chairman of the CPEC Authority,
Honourable Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission,
Managing Director, Heavy Mechanical Complex,
Executives from leading enterprises, partners in Pakistan’s development,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalam-o-Alaikum and Xia Wu Hao!

I am honoured to have the privilege of addressing today’s gathering. Our convening of this session via videoconference – from Pakistan and from six locations across China – shows the resolve of Pakistan and China to press ahead with our bilateral economic partnership regardless of the special and difficult conditions.
As a leading fabrication and machining facility equipped with state of the art technology, HMC has played a key role in the development of Pakistan’s industry. Thanks to such efforts, we have been able to progress further along the road to self-sufficiency in heavy industry and engineering, which is a key pillar underlying country’s industrial strength and composite national power.

Our Chinese friends are natural partners in the next phase of HMC’s comprehensive upgrade. This is not a coincidence. Like the HMC, which was established in the 1970s with China’s generous assistance, Pakistan-China cooperation is replete with examples of mutual support.

I am confident that the business cooperation agreements concluded today would further enhance HMC’s contribution to our national development objectives while giving full play to market forces and multiplying win-win opportunities for all sides. My congratulations to the HMC and its partner enterprises on achieving this milestone.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Throughout the rich and storied history of our friendship, time and again, China and Pakistan have proven that ours is indeed an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, a model for interstate relations, and a pillar of stability in an increasingly complex and uncertain world.

In recent years, our cooperation has manifested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As a flagship project of the visionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC has further demonstrated two cardinal principles of Pakistan-China friendship. Firstly, that learning to fish is far superior to merely being given one. And secondly, we have always helped each other and, in doing so we have helped ourselves.

The BRI and CPEC have (i) given broader appeal to this virtuous cycle of development, (ii) shared the benefits and lessons of China’s dramatic transformation over the past four decades, and (iii) provided a far more attractive and constructive alternative to unilateralist zero-sum approaches and misguided notions of hegemony. Within Pakistan, these initiatives have re-centred the nation’s attention on development and prosperity and their integral place in the national security architecture.

Over the past four years, CPEC has dramatically altered the economic landscape of Pakistan. Where once there were widespread power blackouts, we are now approaching supply/demand balance. While inland communication once relied on only a few major arteries, there is now a well-developed network of expressways connecting urban growth centres in the north and south of Pakistan and opening up the hinterlands to greater economic productivity. In Gwadar, a fishing village has become a fully functional port city; well on its way to being a regional hub of commerce and industry.

Ladies and gentlemen,
As CPEC stands poised for the next stage of higher-quality development, industrial development and industrial capacity relocation assume(s) ever greater significance. Through this all-important aspect of our cooperation, we can:
i. Realize the multiplier effects of CPEC’s first-phase of physical infrastructure on overall economic growth;
ii. Attain the socioeconomic development priorities of the Government and improve the livelihoods of our people;
iii. Adapt the Chinese miracle of eradicating absolute poverty to our unique circumstances; and,
iv. Equip our dynamic people with the skills to thrive in an increasingly competitive world.

Ensuring that we attain these targets requires a whole-of-the-nation approach to Pakistan’s industrial modernization. The CPEC Special Economic Zones and Gwadar Free Zone have their part to play, but there are three pre-requisites for the complete success of these zones:
i. Firstly, we must upgrade our state-owned enterprises to unlock their unique strengths and help Pakistan Inc. to keep up with the times and trends of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
ii. Secondly, we must strengthen take aboard Pakistan’s vibrant entrepreneurial class and actualize the potential for greater business-to-business exchanges, especially with China.
iii. Thirdly, we must continue with efforts to streamline and improve the ease of doing business in Pakistan, and create an optimal enabling environment for attracting and facilitating investment – both locally and from overseas.

I am extremely pleased to see that HMC’s initiative to forge partnerships today is in complete alignment with all three of these wide-ranging efforts. I look forward to seeing greater contributions from the HMC and our Chinese friends. In these efforts, you will find Pakistan’s Embassy and Consulates General in China to be your most steadfast ally.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The format of today’s event had to be abbreviated on account of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and the most recent resurgence of this horrific disease in Beijing.

Throughout this global ordeal – from the first outbreak and lockdown in the beautiful city of Wuhan to the rising numbers globally and in Pakistan – Pakistan and China have continued to stand shoulder to shoulder. Looking ahead, I am certain that the imported outbreak in Beijing would be curbed in the near future. I am also confident that the Government and people of Pakistan will overcome this calamity with dignity and determination; and thanks in no small measure to the timely assistance of our iron brothers and sisters in China.

Gathered today via the video link, I am greatly encouraged to see Pakistan and China resuming our path towards common prosperity and shared future. I pray for our success and wish us Godspeed.

Thank you.

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