We can learn more from China than any other country in the world, Prime Minister Imran Khan said during his address to China’s Central Party School on Sunday morning.
He spoke about ties between the two countries and how they are truly all-weather friends. Whenever we have been in need, China has been there to help us, he said, adding that whenever it is needed, Pakistan will always stand by its ‘iron brothers’.
I was the first generation of Pakistanis who grew up in an independent country and when I was growing up, Pakistan was the one of the fastest growing countries in Asia, he said. At one point, Pakistan was an example for the developing world, he added.
“Our first five-year plan was emulated by countries like Malaysia and South Korea,” he said.
Unfortunately, as happens in the life span of countries, we lost our way and what affected Pakistan and stopped it from achieving its potential was corruption, he said. Slamming the corruption of the “ruling elite”, PM Khan said countries are poor because this corruption destroys state institutions. He said white collar criminals are a huge problem, because it is easy to catch petty thieves but white collar criminals hire expensive lawyers and become a huge problem.
And the worst part of corruption is money laundering, he said, adding that it is one of the biggest problems in the world today.
The poor get poorer and rich get richer, he said, adding that his reason for joining politics was to combat corruption. That’s the main concern of my government, he said, adding that he wants to strengthen state institutions to combat corruption and alleviate poverty.
“You can’t have a society with a small number of rich people and a sea of poor people,” he said, adding that this inequality is stopping people from progressing. This is where we admire China so much, he said.
“One main reason for this admiration is that China did what no country in human history has ever done; it took 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years,” said the premier. This is the greatest achievement a nation can achieve and we are interested in the steps taken to do that.
He said Pakistan hopes to learn all the steps taken to achieve this feat. The Western model is very different from Pakistan and China’s experiences, he said.
“Thirty years ago, China’s GDP was the same as Pakistan’s is today and the way in which China changed itself in 30 years is something I want Pakistani scholars to study because it was not one thing, it was a series of things,” he said.
The premier attributed this change to the resolute nature of the Chinese leadership’s mindset and how they decided they didn’t want a country with unequal development. This is what my party stands for, he said.
PM Khan said that what China has offered Pakistan is a great opportunity. CPEC has come as a great blessing as have the Special Economic Zones, he said, adding that Pakistan needs investment more than ever.
China has given us an opportunity to attract investment. He said he was encouraged by the meetings with China’s leadership that Pakistan will be able to get out of its present crisis.
Our relationship is multidimensional, said the premier, adding that Pakistan can also learn from how China dealt with its mega metropolis issues like sewerage systems, threats to the environment and pollution.
“We can learn more from China than any other country in the world,” he said, adding that there is strong love and affection for China in Pakistan.