Prime Minister Imran Khan has called it “inappropriate” to pressure countries to take sides and stressed that ties between Pakistan and China will not be affected by any sort of pressure.
In an interview with English-language state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN), the prime minister said that Islamabad’s ties with Beijing will not change, despite any amount of pressure on Pakistan.
“The United States expects Pakistan to choose a side. This is not appropriate,” he said.
“The relationship between Pakistan and China is very deep, it’s not just the governments, but it’s a people-to-people relationship,” he added in the interview excerpts of which were posted on Instagram account.
“Whatever will happen…[the] relationship between our two countries, no matter what pressure is put on us, is not going to change,” the Prime Minister said in response to a question.
He mentioned the US-sponsored regional alliance, ‘Quad’ including India and a couple of other countries, and said it was part of a great power rivalry in the region that could create problems.
“Pakistan thinks that it is very unfair of the US and other western powers … [to ask]… for countries like Pakistan to take sides. Why should we take sides? We should have a good relationship with everyone,” he said.
The prime minister said when Pakistan had been in trouble politically or internationally or was involved in conflicts with its neighbour, China always stood by Islamabad.
The people of China have a special place in the hearts of the people of Pakistan, he said.
“You remember friends who stand with you in all times. In good times, everyone stands with you, but in difficult, tough, and bad times, you remember those people who stood by you.”
Prime Minister Imran praised President Xi for his success in the fight against poverty and corruption in China.
“China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty in a few years, which is a great achievement. We want to further develop political, economic and trade relations between the two countries.”
He said that Pakistanis are impressed by the Chinese president’s fight against corruption and consider him “a great politician of modern times”.
“President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is effective and successful.”
Felicitating China on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party, the premier said it a unique model and flexible enough to accommodate change.
The premier was of the view that the Chinese system is better than Western democracy.
“China’s process to hunt talent and then polish it is better than any electoral democracy.”
In our society and western countries, he said, it is difficult to bring changes and that it is always not possible to do what is better for the society.
“China’s success lies in the ability of its system to accept change.”
When asked about the Xinjiang situation, the prime minister said Pakistan accepts the Chinese version on the matter.
He said it is hypocritical that there is no mention of the worst human rights violations being carried out in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the western media.
Premier Imran said there are UN Security Council resolutions on the Kashmir dispute which accept the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.