Beijing: Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the hope for a multi-dimensional relationship between Pakistan and China.
Speaking at the China’s Central Party School in Beijing on the third day of his maiden visit to the friendly neighbour after assuming the top office, the premier listed down qualities his government wanted to adopt from China’s governance style.
“Thirty years ago, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) was what Pakistan’s is currently. It was not one thing but a series of steps taken by the country that enabled China to achieve a feat no other had achieved,” he added.
PM Imran explained to the audience that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had priotised strengthening state institutions by eliminating corruption and elevating poverty. And it looked up to Beijing for both feats.
“No country has taken a population of 700 million people out of poverty. My party is interested in learning how China did it. Secondly, combatting white-collar corruption. It is easy to catch a common criminal but the state struggles when going after white-collar crime.”
The prime minister went on to say: “Money laundering is the worst part of corruption – it deprives the nation of resources and foreign exchange.”
Recalling the 1980s, he said Pakistan’s development faced hurdles as the country plunged into corruption. “Corruption destroys state institutions.”
PM Imran said he was inspired to highlight corruption in the 1980s. “Nobody took me seriously. But one thing I learned as a sportsman was that you only lose when you give up.”
He said that after 15 years of political struggle, seven years ago people realised the gravity of corruption. “Today my party is the biggest political party and we are in the government.”
The cricketer-turned-statesman reflected on the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and termed it a “great blessing” for Pakistan.
Apart from the connectivity, it has allowed foreign investment through creation of small economic zones (SEZ). “We have suffered due to corruption and war on terror. We have current account deficits for which we need foreign investments.”
He added: “My meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang have filled me with hope that we will be able to come out of this [economic] crisis.”