Lahore : Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s landmark visit to China was a great success and has opened up new vistas of cooperation on the economic and strategic fronts.
Addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department (PID) regional office here on Monday, he said Pakistan and China had decided to trade in Chinese yuan instead of the dollar,adding that Pak-China current trade volume was 15 billion dollars and the switch of the US dollar to Chinese yuan would reduce burden on country’s dollar reserves with the State Bank of Pakistan.
The Information minister, dilating on the successes of the PM visit to China, said it was as successful as that of Saudi Arabia in terms of economic and technical support.
He said Pak-China relations had moved beyond the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding China had extended currency support, cooperation in agriculture sector and establishment of new industrial zones in the country which would create new jobs and enhance economic activity.
He said Federal Finance Minister Asad Umer and Planning Minister would divulge details of the economic cooperation on their return.
He said Pakistan had signed a historic pact on strategic relations, adding the bilateral relations had existed since the 1960s between the two countries. He said Pak-China strategic relations were decades-old and of great importance. Fawad said cooperation in the space programme was another advance in scientific relations,adding the first Pakistani astronaut would be sent to the space with the help of Chinese Space Programme support in 2022.
The Information Minister said the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) would invite applications from interested individuals by 2019.
In a lighter vein, he said all the corrupt politicians and mischief-makers should be dispatched to the space for good. The SUPARCO should be tasked with that mission for good of the country, he added.
He contradicted a recent statement of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, saying that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was of great importance for the government and Pak-China relations were decades old. After spending years in power, the PML-N had a misconception that its ouster from government would affect Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries.
The minister said Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, Iran and other regional countries as well as with the United States were now better.
Relations among states, he said, were not dependent on individuals. “People come and go, but bilateral ties among the states continue,” he added.
On the international front, he said, Pakistan had emerged as a leading Islamic state. Prime Minister Imran Khan had been playing the role of a mediator in the Middle East crisis. The Islamic world was looking towards the prime minister for the resolution of Yemen issue.
The European Union Human Rights Court, he said, had decreed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as illegal. It was a great victory of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, which had taken up the case with the governments across the globe, he added.
About the prime minister’s devotion to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Fawad said Imran Khan was an ‘Aashiq-e-Rasool’ (Devotee of Prophet Muhammad PBUH). He had always landed in Medina bare-footed and “making Pakistan like the Medina state is his ideal.”
Responding to various queries, the minister said the Federal Government had decided to pay compensation to affectees of the recent sit-ins staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the provincial governments had been asked to submit details in that regard by November 5.
He hailed the political parties and the opposition for their support on the issue of TLP sit-ins against Asia Bibi’s acquittal by the apex court. All the parties showed political maturity and sent a strong message that the national leadership was on one page on the issue, he added. He said the opposition parties were taken into confidence on all matters of national security. The government was in close contact with the respective focal persons of Pakistan Peoples Party and PML-N Syed Naveed Qamar and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
To a question, Fawad regretted moral degradation of protestors, who looted a fruit-seller also and insulted women-folk on roads without remorse. The protestors merely used the name of religion and they had nothing to do with Islam. How the followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who was sent by Allah Almighty as a blessing for the universe, could cause pain to others.
On the issue of media censorship, the minister said the PTI government had ended censorship on the state media. The government had only asked the social media websites (Twitter etc.) to take into account the sensitivity on the issue of religious hatred. The Facebook had blocked some accounts for hate content on the request of the government, he added.
To a question, the minister said the government and the opposition parties were in unison on almost all matters. The only reason of discord was the government’s unwillingness to grant an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the corrupt politicians. The looters would have to return the stolen money, he added.
To another query, the minister took credit for resolving the recent crisis through wisdom and sagacity, saying the government wanted to resolve the issue amicably rather than using force.
Fawad reiterated the government’s stance to take the accountability of the corrupt to a logical conclusion. The accountability process would not be used for political settlements as was practised by the past regimes. The last PPP and PML-N governments fooled the people in the name of accountability.
“The nation is lucky to have Imran Khan as their prime minister, who does not believe in giving concessions as he has no vested interests,” he added.
The minister also introduced the young fruit-cart vendor, whose fruit were vandalized by the protestors, to the media persons. The boy had been paid compensation by the Punjab government.