PESHAWAR: In a special lecture organized by China Window, a Chinese cultural and information center in Peshawar, Jehangir Khattak, a senior journalist and former president of Peshawar Press Club, emphasized the imperative of prioritizing economic development over conflicts in the present global landscape.
Addressing a large and diverse audience of students from various universities in Peshawar, Jehangir Khattak maintained that nations focusing on economic growth are poised for success in the future, citing the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the US as evidence of a commitment to economic competition rather than armed conflict.
Jehangir Khattak, who is currently serving as the program and communication director at center of community media Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism City University of New York, also shed light on the relationship between Pakistan and China, including China-US relations. He explored the particulars of US-China relations, in light of the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. He noted a significant reduction in misunderstandings between the two nations, attributing the positive shift to the substantial volume of bilateral trade.
Highlighting trade statistics from 2022, Khattak revealed that both US exports to China and imports from China witnessed continuous growth for the third consecutive year. In 2022, US exports to China reached $153.8 billion, a 1.6% increase from the previous year, while imports from China totaled $536.8 billion, marking a 6.3% increase. The trade deficit with China rose to $382.9 billion, up by 8.3%.
Discussing the Pakistan-China relationship, Jehangir Khattak said that the US cannot in any way stand in the way of Pakistan-China friendship. He emphasized China’s consistent support to Pakistan during challenging times, with the Pakistani people viewing China as a trusted ally. Khattak highlighted China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), connecting 150 countries worldwide, and emphasized the significance of Pakistan maximizing the benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for its development.
Peace for Economic Development
Khattak stressed that peace is paramount for economic development in Pakistan, asserting that without establishing peace, progress in any sector remains unattainable. He dismissed the notion of Pakistan having to choose between China and the US, emphasizing that the country should prioritize its interests and maintain equal and friendly relations with both nations. Khattak said that while the US may need Pakistan, it is China that holds the key to Pakistan’s economic advancement.
Jehangir Khattak clarified that the economic development of Pakistan depends on the establishment of peace; development in any sector is not possible without establishing peace; therefore the Pakistani rulers and security agencies will have to pave the way for the establishment of peace in Pakistan, after which economic development will take place.
Administrator of China Window Amjad Aziz Malik, President Peshawar Press Club Arshad Aziz Malik, and others were also present on the occasion. The participants lauded the role of China Window in posturing strong relations between Pakistan and China.