ISLAMABAD - Stressing the need of "pragmatic cooperation" between China and Pakistan, Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang on Thursday urged both the nations to stand by each other as friends and brothers.

China and Pakistan shared the same destiny and his country would provide every support and assistance as 'to help you is to help ourselves', the Chinese Premier told a special session of the Senate sitting convened for his address. 

Earlier, the lawmakers gave the Premier a standing ovation when he entered the Senate Hall alongwith Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari. National anthems of both the countries were played. 

"Pakistan faces challenges of economic and social development and China as a friend will give every support to it," he said.

Li reiterated his government's stance to support Pakistan in all sectors and extend further cooperation, especially in strategic, energy, science and technology and agriculture domains.

Pakistan's support to China was vital for the development of his country as well. He paid tributes to all segments of the society who worked hard to promote friendship between the two countries and said, "The friendship which is based upon shared values of life is long lasting".  Li urged the need that the both nations should stand by each other as friends and brothers with “pragmatic cooperation.”

"More than 28 years have passed...my visit has strengthened my conviction about Pakistan-China friendship," he said.

Terming the friendship as outcome of centuries old historical people-to-people contacts, he said that it was nurtured by the nations and fostered by the forefathers through generations to generations. "To be friends forever is the cherished desire of both nations," he said, adding, that all weathers friendship between the two countries`is precious than the gold.'

Mentioning the names of a number of ancient sites in Pakistan like Mohenjodaro etc, he said people on the land were hardworking and talented. "Since the founding of Pakistan, its government and people have faced challenges...we salute your success," he said.

Describing the priorities to take both the countries forward on way of development and progress and for fostering bilateral time-tested friendly ties, Premier Li said that they would have to speed up the development and utilisation of Karakorum Highway for trade activities.

He said they needed to enhance strategic cooperation and to launch major social and financial projects, and cooperation in energy and agriculture sectors would be the other steps for cooperation.

The visiting Prime Minister also said that China highly appreciated Pakistani people to learn Chinese language and said that they would require assistance of Pakistani people in learning the Urdu language. He pledged to work for mutual benefits and fostering of relations between the brotherly nations.

Recollecting his memories of 27 years back when he first visited Pakistan, Premier Li said he had travelled some cities and through his extensive engagements with a number of segments of the society and through these conversations, he has learnt one thing as cherished by both the nations and as explained by the Chairman Senate; that is "Long Live Pakistan-China Friendship". Giving importance to the Pakistan's geo-political situation, the visiting dignitary said Pakistan used to work with other countries in South Asia and was upholding the regional security.

He said Pakistan was hectically involved in maintaining regional stability and global peace and its contributions were commended by the world. Pakistan was committed to peace in the region and the world and it was playing important role for stability of the South Asia, he added.

Premier Li said that their support and cooperation was vital for mutual benefits of both countries and lauded Pakistan's support and assistance, which they could not forget, as there was a long list of such efforts. He said in 1951 Pakistan developed diplomatic relations with China and they respected each other with sincerity.

Chinese Premier said that the Chinese nation could never forget when the first PIA flight landed in China in 1960 and provided them an air route and the timely aid by Pakistani nation when a massive quake hit Chinese population. "In the construction of Karakorum Highway, a number of our workers lost their lives and Pakistani people are looking after the cemetery and the saplings planted there have now turned into luxurious trees," he said. Similarly, the Chinese government and people have also been supporting and helping Pakistan in time of natural disasters and crisis, he added. "We are truly proud of such a friendship," he said.

The visiting dignitary said the friendship between the two nations was growing faster than the information technology and the Chinese people had coined a phrase on Internet that impressed him the most and it was "If you love China, please love Pakistan."

Earlier, in the welcome address, Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari urged the need to continuously expand and deepen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and to concentrate on enhancing economic cooperation through greater connectivity and trade linkages.

Elaborating Pakistan's foreign policy with regard to China, he said, "Friendship with China remains a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy. Pakistan will always stand firm behind China on all issues that pertain to China's core national interests".

He said that Pakistan regarded ant threat to China's sovereignty as a threat to Pakistan's sovereignty and they were grateful to for China's principled and steadfast support for Pakistan's sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic development.

"Pakistan fully subscribes to China's vision of "peaceful development" and "win-win cooperation" among nations. Pakistan will work with China at every forum for the promotion of peace and stability in the region and the world," the Chairman said.

Senator Aitzaz Ahsan representing Leader of House in the Senate while Senator Raja Zafarul Haq representing Leader of Opposition presented vote of thanks to the Prime Minister.

President Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Speakers of National and Provincial Assemblies, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Minister as well as Governor Gilgit Baltistan, Accountant General of Pakistan, Chairman NAB, Governor State Bank of Pakistan were the important gusts sitting in the Senate galleries.

A number of diplomats also attended the session; however, the Ambassadors of some important countries including US were not present on the occasion.