China in recent years is seeking to develop Xinjiang, home to Muslim majority Uighurs, as a major trade and transport hub as it is located near the borders of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and India.
The air cargo service between Pakistan and China has been launched with the arrival of first maiden flight from Islamabad here on late Friday.
At the inaugural arrival ceremony held here Sardar Aminullah Khan, Economic Minister at Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing, the Deputy Commissioner of Kashi prefecture and representatives of various related agencies including Customs, Civil Aviation, Quarantine, Immigration, port management and representatives of the Airline were present.
Speaking on the occasion, the Economic Minister highlighted the important aspects of the Pak-China relations.
“There is big potential for business for the air cargo service specially during winter season when the connectivity through land between the two countries remained suspended”, he observed.
He further pointed out that through cargo service, products of the two countries not only available easily whole the year in the markets of both sides but also in the Middle Eastern countries and Central Asian States.
He also appreciated the assistance provided by the Chinese government to Pakistan at the hours of the need.
Sardar Amin also stated the present economic policy framework of the Chinese government that envisages priority to the development of the western regions including Xinjiang with substantial investment.
The plan includes the development of infrastructure such extension of high speed train and other modes of transport and communication.
The special development zone status recently assigned to Kashgar was also discussed along with its impact on Pakistan in terms of expanded trade, development, investment and facilitation to Pakistan and the adjoining region of Central Asia.
The Minister appreciated the efforts of the sponsors of Rayyan Air Lines for successful operation of the first cargo flight from Pakistan which will go a long way in promoting the trade and investment between Pakistan, China and Central Asia. Cooperation extended by the local government and other agencies in this regard was also appreciated by the Economic Minister.
The Deputy Commissioner, Kashgar Wang in his speech described the importance of reliable communication links between Pakistan and China and expressed the desire for further expanding such connectivities.
He expected the introduction of passenger flights also by the airline. The Deputy Commissioner explained the huge potential of the region after recent efforts for fast development of the area which is necessary for transferring the benefits of the development to the people of the region in terms of better standards of life, employment and other basic facilities.
Captain Bhatti, Chairman of Rayyan Airlines also spoke on the ceremony. He appreciated the cooperation extended by the local government and the other related agencies of the government in Kashgar to make the launch of cargo service possible.
The flight took about 90 minutes from Islamabad to Kashgar and was received by the Deputy Commissioner, the Economic Minister and heads of all related agencies.
This was the first international cargo flight ever landed in the city and the participants in the ceremony were delighted with the initiation of the operation by an airline of the friendly country– Pakistan.
The Foreign office of Kashgar oversaw all the arrangements in this regard.