PESHAWAR: Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Saturday said all regional countries and the United States wanted a political settlement of the Afghan conflict.
“As part of the Afghan peace process, China is going to convene an intra-Afghan meeting bringing together the representatives of the Afghan government, opposition leaders and the Taliban,” the envoy told reporters here.
Mr Jing said China, Pakistan, Russia and the US held a quadrilateral meeting in Moscow on Friday (Oct 25) to take the peace initiative forward.
Says US, regional countries want political settlement of Afghan conflict
“All regional countries and the United States being a major stakeholder [in the Afghan peace process] want a political settlement of the Afghan conflict, which is why we are going to hold the intra-Afghan meeting,” he said.
The ambassador said as part of the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue, there was a plan to lay railway lines from Peshawar to Jalalabad and from Quetta to Qandahar but peace in Afghanistan was important.
“With these [quadrilateral and intra-Afghan] meetings, we are working towards establishing that,” he said.
Mr Yao Jing was in Peshawar to attend a seminar on ‘Friends of the Silk Road – on CPEC and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’ organised by the Pakistan-China Institute and China Study Centre at the University of Peshawar.
In the keynote speech, the ambassador said China underscored the need for peace and stability in the region so that Chinese firms could execute the ‘dream project of linking Quetta, Chaman to Gwadar and Peshawar to Kabul and onwards to Kazakhstan through railway’.
He said developing the newly-merged KP tribal districts and Gilgit Baltistan, where ‘our forefathers lived and belonged’, was a top priority of China.
“The Chinese government has approved 58 schools in formerFata, 50 vocational centres in the countryand 30 hospitals in KP province,” he said. The envoy asked the higher education institutions to come up with proposals to establish 10 agricultural labs in the country.
Provincial governor and University of Peshawar chancellor Shah Farman, who was also in attendance, said the higher education institutions should rise to the occasion to meet the global demands of competitive markets in the mineral, agriculture and high-tech fields.
“Our priority is to make universities meet the needs of students, society and industry through fast-track procedures. No relaxation will be given to the institutions lagging behind in this respect,” he said.
The governor sought help from the Chinese government for the ‘value addition of local mineral industries through establishment of manufacturing and marketing labs at the raw material sites’.
Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said currently, 28,000 Pakistani students were enrolled in China, while 20,000 more would get scholarships in the next three years to study in Chinese universities.
“In the first phase of the CPEC project, 70,000 jobs have been created. This trend will boost in the second phase,” he said.
Mr Mushahid said the local tourism and culture would be part of the CPEC agenda, while the role and scope of mineral sector would also figure high in it. He said China as part of the quadrilateral dialogue was a crucial guarantor of peace in Afghanistan.
The senator said China always stood by Pakistan like a rock, while Pakistan supported China’s stand on different issues.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2019