ISLAMABAD: The people of Pakistan were keenly looking forward to welcoming President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Imran Khan said during a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, who paid a farewell call on him on Monday.

The prime minister praised the Chinese leadership for bringing about a socio-economic transformation, saying there was a lot to learn from Beijing’s efforts for banishing poverty.

Mr Khan lauded the efforts of Ambassador Yao Jing to strengthen the Pakistan-China “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership”.

He said that during the ambassador’s tenure, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had entered its second phase and the focus was now on industrialisation, agriculture and socio-economic development.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

Mr Yao thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his role in further cementing the bond between the two countries.

The outgoing ambassador said the prime minister’s personal focus on poverty alleviation would bring substantial and immense benefits not only to the people of Pakistan but also the entire region.

Pakistan’s strategy of “smart lockdown” to contain Covid-19 had won international recognition and could be followed as a model by others, Yao Jing added.

The Chinese ambassador said he would cherish memories of his stay in Pakistan and “I wish to see Pakistan-China relationship further strengthened”.

The prime minister appreciated Mr Yao’s contribution to Pakistan-China partnership and wished him well in his endeavours.

Yao Jing served in Pakistan from October 2017 to September 2020. That was his third assignment in Pakistan.

Meeting on subsidies

Earlier, the prime minister chaired a meeting on subsidies and directed the organisations concerned to ensure that the benefit of subsidies reached the poor. “It is the government’s priority that subsidies should be spent on uplift of the poor.”

Imran Khan stressed the need for reform in the subsidy system, saying that loopholes allowed undeserving people to benefit from such schemes, defeating their very purpose.