Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that the Lahore Orange Line Train project was a gift from the Chinese government and people to Pakistan.
He was talking to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at a ceremony in Zhengzhou on Tuesday.
“China will continue to extend its full cooperation to Pakistan in transport and other sectors,” Li Keqiang said.
The CM briefed the Chinese prime minister on the details of the metro train project using maps and pictures. He said that work on the project was in progress and would be completed within two years. “Special attention is being paid to both the speed and standard of work. The people of Pakistan are grateful to the Chinese government and people for their historic cooperation. The Pakistani government is utilising every penny of Chinese investment as a sacred trust,” he said.
The chief minister said that the Lahore Orange Line Train would introduce a new culture of transportation in Pakistan.
Later, while talking to the media, the chief minister said that Pak-China relations had strengthened during the tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Work is in progress on power generation projects in Pakistan with the cooperation of China to cope with the shortage of electricity. Projects for power generation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor are also being implemented speedily,” he said.
He said that full attention was being paid to overcome the energy shortage. “Thousands of megawatts of electricity will be added to the national grid with the completion of several power projects by the end of 2017. That will help lessen loadshedding,” he said.
The chief minister said that Chinese role was of vital importance in the promotion of regional cooperation. “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation can play a key role in promoting regional cooperation. It is the need of the hour that all member countries of the organisation make collective efforts for the development of the region and further promote regional cooperation,” he said.
Shahbaz Sharif said that China-Pakistan relations were improving with the passage of time. “Pakistan’s energy sector is developing with the cooperation of China,” he said.
He said that unprecedented efforts had been made by the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for overcoming the energy crisis.
“The implementation of CPEC projects will usher in a new era of progress and prosperity in Pakistan as well as the region. New avenues of cooperative relations have opened between China and Pakistan,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2015.