Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses lawmakers after being elected by the National Assembly in Islamabad on August 17, 2018. Photo: AFP/ handout
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses lawmakers after being elected by the National Assembly in Islamabad on August 17, 2018. Photo: AFP/ handout

The upcoming visit to China by Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, will play a crucial role in negating the confusions or misconceptions the Western media have tried to create over Sino-Pakistani relations. For the last few months, the West has engaged in spreading negative propaganda on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Imran Khan himself.

Khan will pay his first official visit to China as prime minister for four days beginning this Friday. China and Pakistan have a long history of friendship and the leaderships of both sides have paid official visits to each other on a regular basis. Almost all of the prime ministers or presidents of Pakistan have been to China, and vice versa. Khan in fact visited China in 2011, but that was in a different capacity.

It is expected that the Chinese leadership will greet him with traditional warmth and offer the best hospitality as a friendly nation’s leader deserves. He will have a chance to interact with the highest leadership directly and exchange views with them.

It will be an opportunity to understand each other’s chemistry. As a matter of fact, both Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping have many things in common. Both leaders possess strong personalities and rule over the hearts and minds of their own people. Both are honest and against corruption.

President Xi has made great advances in controlling corruption, and Khan wants to learn from the Chinese experience to fight against the menace of corruption in Pakistan. He believes that corruption is a curse and a major hurdle to the development of Pakistan.

Any meeting between these two leaders will be helpful to mutual support and enhance cooperation between the two brotherly countries. The immediate outcome will be a big blow to Western propaganda, which has been extremely busy trying to create a wedge between the two friendly neighbors.

Khan is impressed by the rapid development of China. He has always admired such Chinese achievements as poverty eradication and controlling the menace of corruption.

During his visit, he will try to explore the possibilities of even closer cooperation between China and Pakistan, especially in the social sector. His objective will be to learn from the Chinese experience of rapid development.

Khan will also attend the Shanghai Import Expo. He will be guest of honor and will receive a warm welcome there. The contribution of Shanghai to China’s development is huge, and now it will also have the honor of hosting the first ever import expo in China. Khan will avail of this opportunity to learn the Shanghai model of development for the further development of Pakistan’s economy. A 75-member delegation of businessmen will attend the Shanghai Import Expo as well.

The relations between China and Pakistan are very deep and based on strong foundations. We are all-weather, time-tested and all-dimension friends. Our relations are unique in nature and pure. We know each other and understand each other’s needs.

Pakistan has always supported China in difficult moments, and China has always helped Pakistan in its critical moments. We believe in real brotherhood and may not publicize our relationship much, but we always stand side by side in difficult moments.

This visit will be at a very crucial moment as China is being criticized by the West for its BRI and its trade surplus, while Pakistan is suffering from a severe economic crisis. It is certain that the two leaders will discuss and plan a strategy to overcome the current domestic and geopolitical situations.

This visit will be even more important as the course of action for the next five years will be defined and decisions made in this visit will be implemented during the rest of the tenure of Imran Khan as prime minister of Pakistan until 2023.

I trust that this visit will lift the long-lasting friendship between China and Pakistan to new heights. It will become a model for the rest of the world to be referred to, and followed.

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.

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