Inam ul Haque
Former Foreign Minister,
Pakistan Council on China,
Pakistan and China enjoy a unique history of mutual respect, trust and friendship. A huge reservoir of good will for each other exists between the people of the two counties. The bilateral ties have remained unaffected by domestic, regional or international developments and with the passage of time have evolved into a strategic relationship.
In the complex, nuanced and rapid strategic moves in our region and on the international horizon a better comprehension and shared understanding of the external as well as internal challenges facing the two countries is absolutely vital for both China and Pakistan so as to safeguard their core national interests and foreign policy objectives. This necessitates a sustained engagement and interaction between the two governments at the highest levels as well as at the level of thinkers, intellectuals, academicians and business leaders of the two countries.
It is my view that at present such contacts are at best sporadic and somewhat superficial. While there is much lip service to the depth of the relationship, there are no serious efforts in Pakistan at the governmental or the civil society level to strengthen the existing ties to mutual advantage. It appears at times that the Chinese are also uncertain and concerned about the direction of our polity as well as our policies. For instance, as good friends they have conveyed their anxiety and discomfort over the presence and training of extremists belonging to Xinjiang in our tribal areas. The absence of mechanisms and institutions for serious and in depth exchanges will eventually create differing perceptions and reduced trust between the two countries. This will be extremely hazardous for Pakistan particularly because of our internal weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
In an effort to improve the level and content of communications between the two countries some likeminded friends have joined together and established a Think Tank titled Pakistan Council on China (PCC) in Islamabad.
The aims and objectives of this independent, non-political, non-partisan body include:
- Organizing academic and social activities for the promotion of Pak-China relations;
- Initiating informed discussions among governmental and private sector organizations to explore fresh avenues to strengthen bilateral relations with China;
- To conduct independent research and analysis and to provide policy recommendations and advice for greater engagement with China;
- To develop a mechanism for regular exchanges between youth groups, scholars, think tanks and academicians to develop a long term, sustained and harmonious relationship between the two countries in the decades ahead.
- To undertake studies assessing China’s role in world affairs, its evolving relations with major world and regional powers and their possible impact on Pakistan and its relations with China to prevent any possible adverse fallout.
- To undertake studies on different facets of the Chinese economy for possible application in Pakistan.
In order to pursue these objectives the PCC will work to bring together opinion makers from different strata of society including the academia, the media, civil society, youth groups, defense analysts, government and semi-government organizations and the armed forces.
We look forward to your cooperation and active participation.
(Inam ul Haque)