Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/ file

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/ file

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to embark on an official visit to China in the first week of November, said well-placed sources.

“Last minute details are being worked upon, but the visit is very much on,” sources told The News on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, the Pakistan Embassy hosted an event on floods in Pakistan. “Delighted to host representatives of multilateral organizations, Chinese think tank and academia at the embassy. Briefed them on recent floods in Pakistan and Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change. Touched by their desire to contribute,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador Moinul Haque.

Interestingly, Moin was also at one time being considered as the future foreign secretary but his tenure in office expires next year.

According to a statement, international organizations, Chinese think tank, NGOs, Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) members and members of the Pakistani community attended the event in Beijing.

Speaking on the occasion, Moin briefed the audience about the extent and nature of the recent unprecedented floods in Pakistan. Expressing gratitude for the support extended by the international community, particularly China and the UN, he reiterated the need for proactive climate action and international solidarity to mitigate the effects of climate change. He stressed that it was unfortunate that despite being a low carbon emitter, Pakistan was among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. He called on rich countries to help the developing states affected by climate change. He hoped that the international community would remain engaged with Pakistan in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

Henry Huaiyao Wang, president of CCG, highlighted that strengthening international cooperation on climate change was a matter of utmost urgency. Sharing China’s experience in tackling climate change, he expressed solidarity with Pakistan and welcomed the diverse group of speakers and audience to the event.

Mabel Lu Miao, secretary general of CCG and founder of Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD), noted the huge losses of life and essential infrastructure due to floods in Pakistan. She highlighted the need for collective action in the wake of climate catastrophe in Pakistan and stressed the importance of international solidarity in this regard.

In his keynote speech, Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in China, underlined the sifting climate patterns having impact in diverse manners including floods, food security and rising sea levels. Highlighting Pakistan’s vulnerabilities to climate change and the loss caused by recent floods, he stressed the need for collective action for tackling climate challenges.

Other keynote speakers included Professor Shahbaz Khan, resident coordinator of Unesco to China; Vano Noupech, UNHCR representative in China; Ali Mchumo, director general of International Organization of Bamboo and Rattan; Ambassador Sohail Khan, deputy secretary-general, SCO; Graziella Leite Piccoli, deputy head of Regional Delegation East Asia ICRC, and Zhou Jinfeng.

Pakistan wants China to rollover SAFE deposits

On September 30, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar sought the support of the Chinese ambassador for securing the rollover of State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) deposits of $2 billion due in March 2023 to materialise financing requirements under the IMF programme.

As per the IMF’s condition, Pakistan will have to secure a rollover of $2 billion in SAFE deposits for the current fiscal year.

The development came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Pakistan to seek debt relief from its close partner China in view of the countrywide cataclysmic floods.

Blinken made the remarks after talks in Washington with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on September 16.

According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, Chinese ambassador Nong Rong called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Division on Friday.

He apprised the ambassador of the damages caused by the unprecedented floods in Pakistan affecting the infrastructure, agriculture, lives and properties and cost to the economy at large.

He also appreciated the support extended by the Chinese leadership in the refinancing of the syndicate facility of RMB 15 billion ($2.24 billion) to Pakistan and further sought the support of the ambassador in facilitating the rollover of SAFE China deposits of $2 billion in March 2023.

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