October 18, 2023
ISLAMABAD – Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Tuesday, where the two leaders emphasised the importance of exploring avenues for enhancing bilateral cooperation across various domains, such as trade and defence.
The interim premier reached Beijing on Monday to participate in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation.
In the meeting held on the sidelines of the forum, the two leaders stressed the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields besides discussing matters related to regional peace and security.
Russian President Putin received Prime Minister Kakar before they held a meeting that encompassed bilateral, regional, and international affairs.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Kakar said Pakistan and Russia had a convergence of interests on the issue of terrorism and called for enhanced cooperation and a common approach among the neighboring countries of Afghanistan.
He said the neighboring countries should be the foremost to take the initiative and cooperate in the fields of intelligence, defence and counter-terrorism.
Discussing bilateral cooperation, Prime Minister Kakar calling Pakistan an energy-dificient country, invited the Russian investment in the sector.
Pakistan’s energy minister had recently attended an Energy Week event in Russia where he had “fruitful and constructive engagement with the Russian team, PM Kakar told Putin.
He said the Russian team had come up with concrete proposals for enhancing energy cooperation, he added.
Citing his previous visit to Russia as senator, the prime minister said he was “mesmerised” by the Russian architecture particularly representing Christianity and churches.
He said both countries were also close in terms of cultural and ethical values which were not popular beyond that region. PM Kakar, Putin discuss ways to enhance bilateral, regional cooperation.
In his remarks, Putin said Pakistan and Russia celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. Citing friendly bilateral relations, he said there existed a huge potential for cooperation between Pakistan and Russia.
The Russian president said stability was inevitable for ensuring economic progress. He said both sides would exchange views and discuss the vision and steps needed to be taken to strengthen cooperation in multiple areas.
He said trade relations between the two countries had increased and this year, Russia had supplied around a million tons of cereals to Pakistan.
PM seeks Chinese investment
Earlier, the premier invited China to invest in solar parks to support Pakistan’s fight against climate change and help reduce Pakistan’s energy import bill.
At the airport, he was received by Chinese Minister of Science & Technology Wang Zhigang, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong, and Ambassador of Pakistan to China Moinul Haq, the PM’s Office said in a press release yesterday.
Addressing a conference in China today, PM Kakar said investments in solar parks would benefit two-fold, explaining that “on one hand they will support Pakistan’s endeavours to climate action and also help reduce energy import bill”.
The prime minister expressed Pakistan’s desire to learn from China’s models for building industrial parks and special economic zones.
He highlighted that China and Pakistan enjoyed a time-tested relationship based on mutual trust and shared interests. “Despite international politics, our friendship has remained steadfast.”
The interim premier emphasised that there was no bilateral relation more important for Pakistan than its friendship with China.
“This special relation enjoys across-the-board national consensus in Pakistan,” he said. “There should be no doubt that Pakistan would undermine our unique affection for China.”
Terming CPEC the manifestation of Pak-China strategic cooperation, Kakar said the project symbolises coordinated efforts of the two countries to bring their economic and trade ties at par with each other.
The project also symbolises the two countries’ excellent political relations, he added.
“For Pakistan, CPEC is a transformative project central to advancing our national agenda to sustainable development,” the prime minister continued, adding that the geoeconomic landscape of the country — from Gilgit-Baltistan to the deep sea ports of Karachi and Gwadar — was transformed in the last few years due to CPEC.
Kakar said the infrastructure of the country was upgraded and the potential of the large youth population was unleashed due to CPEC.
“It is already proving to be a catalyst for job creation, poverty alleviation, and rural revitalisation giving strength to the vulnerable and underprivileged apart from reaching the remote sections of society,” he added.
“I myself come from Balochistan, an underdeveloped province of Pakistan, and generally believe that CPEC is a beacon of development, progress, and prosperity for the people of my province.”
Explaining that CPEC was a symbol of Pak-China strategic trust, interim PM Kakar said Pakistan was seeking to create new drives of growth that would benefit the wider region and beyond.
He announced that Pakistan was open to “drawing new partners who wish to join us in availing benefits from CPEC”.
“Since the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, Pakistan has added 800km of roads and motorways into our network injecting more than 8000MW of energy and generating more than 2,000 new jobs for our people,” Kakar said.
The caretaker prime minister expressed that the next phase of CPEC should seek a deeper integration of “our economies with a focus on diversification and innovation”.
Concluding his talk, PM Kakar deemed skill development and vocational training programs critical for the success of CPEC.
PM Kakar attends President Xi’s state banquet for world leaders
Earlier in the day, the prime minister attended a state banquet, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping for world leaders participating in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum.
In a post on X (erstwhile Twitter), the premier said he received an “incredibly warm welcome” from President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan.
PM Kakar was accompanied by senior ministers of his cabinet, the PM Office (PMO) said in a press release.
Held at the iconic Great Hall of the Peoples, the banquet was attended by the heads of state/government of Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and Chile, among several other world leaders.
During the gathering, PM Kakar held informal interactions with the world leaders attending the event.