Shehbaz affirms resolve to fast track CPEC projects


Holds telephonic talk with Premier Li, assures ‘enhanced security’ for Chinese nationals; Both affirm no one to be allowed to harm Pak-China friendship

Sarwar Awan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif affirmed the government’s “firm resolve” to fast track China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects during a “comprehensive” telephone call with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.

PM Shehbaz expressed the resolve to fast track the ongoing and new China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects which had “immensely contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan,” says a press release issued by the PM Office.

The Prime Minister stressed the need for both countries to enhance cooperation between the relevant agencies in order to fully operationalise special economic zones at as soon as possible.

“While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the prime minister desired to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up special economic zones in their provinces.” Shehbaz expressed his commitment

to working with renewed zeal and enthusiasm in tandem with China, especially on projects of strategic significance for both the countries, such as the ML-1 project. The Premier thanked China for its firm support to “Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and reaffirmed his government’s unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest.” The two leaders also discussed bilateral matters, agreeing that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the long-standing partnership between the two countries. During the phone call, Shehbaz Sharif offered his condolences to the government and the people of China over the deaths of three Chinese scholars in a suicide blast at Karachi University on April 26. “The prime minister strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold [a] thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with our laws,” the statement said.

The Prime Minister also reiterated that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions and assured Premier Li that the government was determined to take the measures for their security and safety in Pakistan.

Emphasising people-to-people contacts, Shehbaz Sharif also conveyed the sentiments of the families of Pakistani students wanting to return to China to resume their studies. “Premier Li assured the prime minister of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan,” the PMO statement said. Both the leaders shared the view that the “Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership” must continue to serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries, as well as the broader interests of peace and stability amid the evolving regional and global milieu.To this end, they agreed to enhance the momentum of exchanges to take bilateral cooperation to even higher levels, the statement said.


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