ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China Friday agreed to wage joint efforts to turn the region free from the menace of drugs. The promise was made during a meeting between Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and Narcotics Control, Shehryar Khan Afridi and Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Chinese Embassy, Pang Chunxue here at the Ministry of Narcotics Control. Shehryar Afridi said China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be turned into the first drug free route of the world and Pakistan had fortified its borders to choke down narcotics trade, said a press release issued here. “In Narcotics Control, we need to learn from best practices of China and need to enter into collaboration to stop the flow of illicit drug trade as synthetic drugs are targeting our youth,” he said. He said that Kohat was gateway to Southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chinese investments in Kohat would help generate thousands of jobs around the western route of the CPEC. He said the western route of the CPEC provided the shortest route to Gwadar. Pakistan had developed the world’s biggest databank on criminals involved in drugs and money laundering, he said. While talking on the occasion, Pang said China and Pakistan had made very good progress in the CPEC’s second phase. “We are focusing on industrial cooperation, agriculture development and social sector,” she said. Under the second phase of CPEC, the work has been in progress on the establishment of Special Economic Zones that will provide job opportunities for local youth which will bring about regional development. China and Pakistan had also good cooperation in anti-narcotics operations, she added. “China is appreciating Pakistan’s efforts for refugees and we will coordinate in future to assist the refugees,” she concluded. A special Investiture Ceremony was held at the Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing on 6th December, 2019. The civil awards of Pakistan were conferred on the Chinese dignitaries, on behalf of the President of Pakistan, in recognition of their services towards Pakistan and further strengthening of Pakistan-China relations. Mr. Xu Shaoshi was the Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of china from 2013 to 2017. He is a great friend of Pakistan and an ardent advocate of Pakistan-China friendship. During his leadership of the NDRC, the China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of china’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proceeded rapidly from concept to concrete reality. In these formative first years of CPEC, notwithstanding the unprecedented size, scale and development pace of the CPEC portfolio, Pakistan and China were able through unremitting efforts to deliver tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries. The success of the early-harvest phase of CPEC rests in large part upon the thorough preparatory work done during Mr. Xu’s tenure as Chairman NDRC. Hilal-e-Pakistan was conferred upon Mr. Xu Shaoshi. Mr. Wang Xiaotao currently heads the newly established International Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) of the People’s Republic of China. He has been a great friend of Pakistan and a strong supporter of Pakistan-China friendship. In his capacity as Vice Chairman of the NDRC, he played a pivotal role in the realization of the China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC). Mr. Wang co-chaired four meetings of the CPEC Joint Cooperation committee (JCC). Under his guidance and direction, bilateral cooperation on CPEC transcended the planning and implementation stages, delivered direct benefits to the peoples of Pakistan and China. One especially noteworthy accomplishment of the JCC mechanism under Mr. Wang’s co-chairmanship came in Islamabad in November, 2017, when various aspects of CPEC cooperation were enshrined in the “Long-Term Plan for CPEC”, providing a detailed blueprint for the evolution of CPEC through 2030. Hilal-i-Quaid-e-Azam was conferred upon Mr. Wang Xiaotao. Ms. Lin Yi is the Vice President of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) since 2015 and is in charge of the Asian and African Affairs. She has been a great friend of Pakistan and a strong supporter of Pakistan-China friendship. Under her guidance, the CPAFFC played a leading role in organizing a series of high-profile celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2016. Ms. Lin and her team have proactively continued to develop plans and seek opportunities to promote relations, especially among the youths of both countries, which is indispensible for ensuring the perpetuity of this historic relationship across generations. Sitara-i-Pakistan was conferred upon Ms. Lin Yi. Mr. Li Xuedong was formerly Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of China. Since early 2018, he has served as the Chairman of the Development and Reform Commission of China’s northeastern Liaoning province. During his tenure at the International Cooperation Department of the NDRC, Mr. Li Xuedong demonstrated sincere goodwill and friendship towards Pakistan. His unremitting commitment to promoting the China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC), as the flagship project of china’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), contributed directly to rapid progress in all core areas, especially in Gwadar and industrial cooperation. His extraordinary efforts and forthcoming approach have contributed to creating a firm foundation for further development of CPEC and Pakistan-China economic cooperation in the years to come. Tamgha-i-Pakistan was conferred upon Mr. Li Xuedong. The event was attended well by the officers of Pakistan Embassy and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with media representatives.