| Updated at: 1220 PST, Sunday, December 19, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza Sunday said that the Sino-Pak relations are deeply imbedded in the hearts and minds of our two nations as this friendship has withstood many tests over the years.
In her welcome address to Chienes Prime Minister Wen Jia Bao before his address to the joint sitting of the parliament, the Speaker said that it is a historic day in the collective parliamentary history of our two countries as this is for the first time that our Parliament is being addressed by any leader from your great country.
"I, therefore, feel greatly honoured to welcome you to this House, which reflects the sovereign will of the people of Pakistan. The Majlis-e-Shoora, Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is privileged to have in our presence today, the most trusted friend, a strong ally and a respected world leader, His Excellency Wan Jia Bao, the Honourable Prime Minister of the Peoples Republic of China."
She said we will never forget the manner in which our Chinese brothers and sisters responded to the call for help from the flood-affected people of Pakistan despite the fact that their own citizens were facing the same natural calamity.
She said it is a matter of mutual satisfaction that over the years, such emotional attachment of our two neighbouring countries has translated into a meaningful economic and political partnership, spreading over diverse areas like agriculture, science, technology, industry, defence, education, health and human resource development.
Such continued close cooperation and mutuality of interests on all issues is a distinguishing hallmark of our relationship she said, adding that "we attach great importance to your address to Parliament, which takes place at a time when the world as a whole and our Region in particular is undergoing serious challenges."
The Speaker said that the continued political instability in Afghanistan, diplomatic deadlock in the Middle East Peace process and the unresolved issue of Kashmir are major political flashpoints affecting us while the global economic recession continues to haunt emerging economies like Pakistan.
She said in such daunting political and economic scenario, we are eager to hear from a visionary statesman, whose ideas and efforts have not only ensured China's unrelenting march towards glory but has also earned him the title of "The People's Premier."
"Your respect for cultural diversity, promotion of socialist democracy and firm adherence to the ideals of scientific development have not only earned you the praise of the Chinese people but also from all people-friendly political movements of the world," she remarked.
She said despite political and economic pressures, our Parliament has made impressive headways towards the attainment of the four political ideals, so strongly advocated by yourself.
She said that while respecting political mandates and diverse ideologies, the Parliamentarians have worked in a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation. They have, thus, continued to create consensus on all issues of national concern, including the complex issue of tackling terrorism.
She said that this year, the Parliament unanimously passed the historic 18th Amendment Bill, which has not only revived the true federal spirit of our Constitution but has also created a much-needed balance of power among various state institutions. In addition, She said, the Parliament has also jointly adopted more than a dozen resolutions, legislative bills and the three annual federal budgets, which has surely given hope and strength to the nation.
"We have a long way to go before this nascent and fragile democracy grows strong roots to ensure Pakistan's guaranteed march on the path towards progress. It is this path where we eagerly seek the companionship of trusted friends like China," She said.
Fehmida said that the two Parliaments of our countries have a meaningful role to play through close and regular interaction. As Speaker, I consider such interaction extremely important since the diversity of our respective political systems provide us a unique opportunity to learn from each other's experience.
She said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto once said about the architect of Sino-Pak friendship that the relations between two countries have withstood the rigours of the political weather because these are rooted in principles; in geography and in a common political undertaking based on permanent human values.
She said, "Chinese and Pakistani people gear up to celebrate 2011 as the 60th Year of Friendship between our two nations, let me assure you Excellency, on behalf of all of my colleagues that you will always find us firm and committed in our friendship to the great people of your great country."