Beijing to gift new chandelier for Mazar-e-Quaid
Amid rumours of discontent on part of the Chinese government about the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong on Tuesday quashed all such rumours, saying that China was “satisfied with the smooth implementation on the corridor”.
“China is satisfied with the pace of implementation of the CPEC project. CPEC is under smooth implementation, and will deliver mutual benefits to both countries and peoples of the whole region,” said the ambassador while talking to journalist on the occasion of an agreement signing ceremony regarding the Chinese government’s announcement to gift a new chandelier for the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as a gesture of respect and brotherhood to the Pakistan’s founding father.
The statement was crucial in the wake of a local media report on Monday which claimed that the CPEC had been put on the backburner by the PML-N government with the ailment of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and accusations against his family in the Panamagate.
The reports suggested that the CPEC seems to have become another source of tension between the civilian and military leaderships, and the Chinese have been suggesting that the government formally rope in the army to ensure smooth execution of the project.
Flanked by Adviser to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui, Sun Weidong said the chandelier which costs approximately Rs 200 million weighs 2.5 tonnes.
The chandelier is being manufactured in China and would be transported to Karachi next month. He said that the chandelier would be installed soon replacing the older one which was also gifted by the Chinese government in 1971.
“China and Pakistan are time-tested strategic, iron brothers. The new chandelier will be installed at the Mausoleum in the next few months. The Chinese company has completed almost 95 per cent work on the new chandelier which has been designed along the same lines as the older one but with newly added features and modern technology,” the ambassador said.
Sun Weidong said China looks forward to working closely with Pakistan and wants to push forward Pakistan-China relations to new heights. He said the chandelier is a symbol of the Pakistan-China friendship. It was presented by the Chinese government in 1971 as a gift from the Chinese Muslim Association.
“We are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and have set a unique example of the state-to-state relations in this world,” he said, adding that the chandelier also represented the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries.
“Now we have formally signed an agreement for the maintenance of the chandelier and hope a new chandelier will be installed in the near future in the great building of the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Along with Pakistanis and Chinese visitors, people from all over the world visit Mazar-e-Quaid and see the symbol of longtime and time-tested Pakistan-China friendship,” he said. “The chandelier to be installed towards the end of this year will remind the future generations of the Pakistan-China friendship,” he added.
Expressing his gratitude to the president, prime minister and the people of China on the occasion, Irfan Siddiqui said that like the unique and matchless friendship between Pakistan and China, the two countries have similar sentiments of love and affection for the Founder of Pakistan and the Chinese government has reaffirmed the same sentiments in the shape of a gift of very expensive and attractive chandelier for Quaid’s mausoleum.
The advisor said a new chapter of friendship was written in the history of Sino-Pakistan ties on with China’s gift. He pointed out that the chandelier provided in 1971 for illuminating the Mazar-e-Quaid too was an expression of the love and affection of the Chinese brethren for Quaid-e-Azam.
“The chandelier provided previously definitely changed but the sentiments of love and affection of our Chinese brethren for Pakistan and its founder are still fresh despite the passage of many decades. This gift is, in fact, like the lamp of love and affection and rays of light emanating from it will be disseminating the message of the eternalness of the Pakistan-China friendship,” Irfan Siddiqui remarked.
The adviser to the prime minister said that progress of nations is linked to the level of value they give to their forefathers – following their teachings and continuing their struggle. He said that abiding by the teachings of their forefathers and safeguarding and preserving of their memorials is a tradition and distinction of every dignified nation. He said it is a matter of great pride for him that the upkeep, decoration and beautification of the Mazar-e-Quaid has been given under his charge.
Irfan Siddiqui said that the CPEC project is undoubtedly a new milestone in the history of the friendship of the two countries. He said this symbol of friendship, closeness and mutual trust will play a key role in spreading the light of peace and progress in the region and the world.
“We expect that new ways will be found for bilateral cooperation and partnership between the National History and Literary Heritage Division of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China, and the two countries will come closer in the fields of education, literature and culture,” he said.
In addition to the Chinese delegation led by Ambassador Sun Weidong, Pakistan’s Federal Secretary for National History and Literary Heritage Mohsin S. Haqqani and other senior officials attended the accord signing ceremony.
AHSAN SAYS CHINA HAS NO RESERVATIONS ON PACE OF WORK OF CPEC PROJECTS:
Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal has said the CPEC project is going ahead smoothly and the required pace of work is being maintained.
In an interview with a private TV channel, he brushed aside rumours about any concerns of the Chinese government on the pace of implementation of the project and said both Pakistan and China are executing it with a sense of mission.
Ahsan Iqbal said that within just three years Pakistan and China have made it a flagship project from a piece of paper.
He said China has no reservations on the pace of work. Rather they have appreciated the government’s efficiency and commitment at every forum.
To a question, he said the country needs short-term projects to grow the economy.