Relief Packages from neighborly brother, China for distribution amongst deserving citizens of Peshawar

Report  by Shakil ur Rehman . Photography by Shah Zameen Khan (China Window)

One may faces difficulties in choosing words, when it comes to ponder upon role of Chinese friends to helping the citizens of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially the Peshawarites in their hour of need.  This is what, I am really experiencing in writing these lines.  Last year, when the Covid-19 had broken in Wuhan – the city of People’s Republic of China – , each and every Pakistani were found feeling the pain.  Many rushed to social media to express solidarity with their Chinese brethren and sisters.   China Window also proved an active forum where many messages of brotherhood were dropped by Pakistanis for onward transmission to the Chinese friends.

Ever since, the China Window has been established in this historic city of Peshawar, the role of Islamabad based embassy of People’s Republic of China seems more visible in this part of Pakistan.  The Chinese friends are seen extending helping hand to people of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.  The Peshawarites being hosts to China Window are in the lime light.  Credit goes to senior journalist, Mr. Amjad Aziz Malik who had established the cultural centre in 2018.  Amongst the early relief consignments were also included a gift of 100 wheel chairs which were delivered to very deserving men and women.   The transparent and respectable process of handing over the wheel chairs to recipients was acknowledged with appreciation by our Chinese brethren both at Chinese Embassy and in China too.

The second phase emerged in wake of spread of Covid—19.   Almost every Pakistani was observed with feelings of concern about the sufferings of their Chinese brethren and sisters.   Many amongst them were found on social media, expressing solidarity with their Chinese brethren and sisters.  The China Window did not lag behind.   Messages of love and affection originating from here were disseminated across the world through all the available means of media.  Even minor children also visited the cultural centre to record their feelings of solidarity and brotherhood with their innocent well wishes: “May the Chinese emerge safe and secure in their hour of tests”.   Amongst the well wishers who have been personally appearing here since then, were also test cricketers – Muhammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Iftikhar Ahmad, besides many other sports persons.

On 26th February, 2020, when the Pandemic broke in Pakistan, the Chinese brethren and sisters reciprocated with much bigger response.   The Islamabad based Chinese embassy accompanied by Chinese Overseas Association provided 10,000 face safety masks which were immediately delivered to citizens of Peshawar.   Further, 2,000 bags of flour, received from the Chinese embassy were distributed amongst the deserving inhabitants of surrounding areas of the historic city.

When the second layer of Covid-19 emerged, the Chinese Embassy at Islamabad did remember the Peshawarites as well and dispatched 4,000 food packages for distribution amongst the deserving citizens.  The China Window fulfilled this responsibility to its utmost abilities.  This has made this institution closer to the citizens of the provincial metropolitan.

Like elsewhere in the world, Pakistan too followed the practice of enforcing lockdown strategy to overcoming the pandemic, since it had broken but with a different thinking.  Although there had been certain difficulties in implementing this strategy in the beginning yet it has been acknowledged with appreciation world over.  To easing the situation on ground, the government also launched huge relief packages as well.  The Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan was of the view that it would be difficult to restrict the people especially the workers and labourers to their homes for a long time.  Rather allowing them limited movement may be the good strategy.  That became the national stand later on as well.  Federal Government introduced a huge relief package of Rs.1200 billions under which each deserving family has been provided Rs.12,000/-.  Side by side, various volunteer and donor organizations and philanthropists both in their individual and collective capacities also rushed to the forefront to distribute raw and cooked food packages as well as cash grants.  The practice is still continuing.

Hence, the timely initiative of Chinese brethren in the given circumstances was widely welcomed.  As earlier stated, the Islamabad based Chinese embassy has distributed flour bags amongst deserving citizens of Peshawar and in its surroundings through China Window – trucks loaded with the commodity continued arriving here for four days to completing the process.  Similarly, 10,000 face safety masks were also provided under the arrangements of Islamabad based Chinese embassy and the Chinese Overseas Association for distribution purposes along the flour bags.  This proved a big example of China-Pak Friendship which has largely been acknowledged with thanks amongst every circle of the society.  In line with the social practices, the China Window had also arranged a simple but a prestigious ceremony in this respect at its premises.  The Advisor to the Chief Minister, Mr. Ajmal Waqzir was the chief guest on the occasion who also delivered flour bags to deserving citizens by himself.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ajmal Wazir had said that the People’s Republic of China has been helping their Pakistani friends in every hour of need.  It is because of their strong mutual relationships, he added, their friendship is described as an exemplary one.  He had also thanked the then Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, Mr. Yao Jang and the Chinese Government for their whole hearted support to Pakistan in its hour of test.   Today, he remarked, “I feel pleased to witnessing distribution of relief packages on part of our Chinese friends in Peshawar and elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province”.  He had expressed the hope that the testing time would end up and normalcy restored in due course of time.  The then Advisor to the provincial chief minister had delivered 400 bags of flour as well as face safety masks on the time too.  Similar food packages were also delivered to deserving citizens at Ring Road, Northern By-pass, Charsadda Road, Palosai and G.T. Road in Peshawar.

To fulfilling the responsibility of delivering food packages to deserving citizens, a separate ceremony of the kind was also arranged wherein a respectable figure from among the non-Muslim populace of Peshawar, Mr. Augustus Jaikab was the chief guest.  Mr. Augustus Jaikab is quite popular in the historic city for his social services and at his hand, relief packages were delivered to Hindu, Sikh and Christian citizens.  In his remarks on the occasion, he said, friendly cooperation and support on part of People’s Republic of China towards Pakistanis is though an admitted fact, however, for him in personal capacity, it is a matter of extra pleasure for being personally engaged in the process.  Such an experience, he added, will be helpful to further cementing the people to people relationships between both the countries.  He also thanked the administration of China Window for providing him the opportunity.

The administration of China Window in its efforts reaching to wider populace delivered relief packages at Shabqadar  – a town situated at a distance of almost 40 km from Peshawar – as well where a local social body: Doaba Welfare Organization shared its responsibility.  Mr. Arif Ehsan, President of the social body and his colleagues personally helped in delivering the relief packages to the deserving citizens.  A journalist, Mr. Waqar Ahmad Awan who is also known for his visible social services, personally supervised the process of transportation of the relief consignment from Peshawar to Shabqadar and its distribution at Shabqadar.  The President of Doaba Welfare Organization, Mr. Arif Enshan said, “it is a matter of great respect for him for delivering the flour bags on behalf of the Chinese friends to the needy people of the area”.  Earlier, he added, “I have also delivered similar relief goods to deserving citizens in Peshawar and truly provision of the goods on part of our arch friend; will always be remembered with respect”.   He also thanked the China Window for providing him the opportunity to sharing his feelings as well.

The prominent social figure, Mr. Waqar Ahmad Awan said, although he and his colleagues have been providing relief packages to needy people at their own in Peshawar as well, yet, being involved in delivering relief consignments arranged by the Chinese friends have made him more pleased.  Since, he added, it is a service to further strengthening the Pak China Friendship too.

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