China to help Pakistan formulate anti-terror strategy

Gilani, Hu Jintao discuss security, energy, trade

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

BEIJING: Pakistan and China agreed to intensify efforts for regional peace and security on Tuesday with Beijing assuring Islamabad of its support in formulating a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism.

This was resolved in a meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Peoples Hall. “China has asked Pakistan to evolve a comprehensive and long-term sustainable strategy to deal with the security-related issues and China would provide overwhelming assistance in this endeavour,” Gilani told reporters after the meeting.

According to political observers in China, Beijing’s offer was of immense significance when viewed in the backdrop of Pakistan’s predicament in the Kerry-Lugar Bill, increased US presence in the region, the growing nexus between the US and India and the expanding influence of India in the region’s security matters.

Earlier, on his arrival, the prime minister was given a red-carpet reception at the Great Hall and President Jintao, in an unusual gesture, received him outside the auditorium entrance. The prime minister, who looked satisfied after the 45-minute-long interaction, said: “We have found complete conformity of views on all subjects which came under discussion in the meeting.”

Gilani said he had discussions with the Chinese president on a wide range of issues, including the security situation in the region, defence, defence production, energy, trade and increased Chinese investment in Pakistan. The meeting would greatly help to further strengthen the time-tested friendship between both the countries, he added.

During the meeting, Gilani apprised the Chinese president of the recent operation carried out against militants in Pakistan. The Chinese president lauded the role Pakistan was playing in countering terrorists and said greater cooperation was required to fight militancy.

Both leaders agreed to strengthen collaboration in defence and counter-terrorism, and to work on a comprehensive strategy on security-related issues. The two leaders also expressed their firm resolve to further strengthen bilateral ties in the energy sector in particular.

The prime minister felicitated the Chinese president on the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese republic. He paid rich tribute to the Chinese leadership and eulogised the tremendous development China has made in various fields.

The prime minister was accompanied by Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri (JUI), Chaudhary Barjees Tahir (PML-N), Muhammad Tariq Tarrar (PPP), Muzaffar-ul-Malik (ANP), Sardar Bahadur Ahmad Khan Sehar (PML-Q), Sheikh Salahuddin (MQM), Sajid Hussain Turi (Fata), Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Additional Foreign Secretary Masood Khalid, Federal Secretary Information and Broadcasting Ashfaq Ahmad Gondal and Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan.

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