Economic relations between Pakistan and China are getting stronger, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday
He was talking to a Chinese delegation, led by Shandong province Vice Governor Xia Geng, that called on him.
Promotion of Pakistan-China relations and increasing cooperation between the Punjab and Shandong in various sectors were discussed. It was decided to form a combined working group to increase cooperation between Shandong and the Punjab in various sectors. The group will present proposals for promoting bilateral cooperation in energy and industrial sectors. Both sides decided to sign agreements in this regard.
Welcoming the delegation, the chief minister said that China was investing $46 billion in various projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “The CPEC is a game-changer for Pakistan and promotion of economic cooperation between the two countries is the need of the hour. There is already close cooperation between Pakistan and China in various sectors. The CPEC will leave a deep impact on Pakistan as well as progress of the entire region,” he said.
The CM said that China had made tremendous progress under its present leadership. “We are happy to know that Chinese exports have been the highest this year. China has become a huge economic force in the world,” he said.
Shahbaz Sharif said that the government was implementing a comprehensive programme for the promotion of industrial sector. “Work is being carried out for the establishment of Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park. Other economic zones are also being established in the province,” he said.
He said that Shandong province could cooperate with the Punjab in these projects. “Terrorism is a problem for the whole world and joint efforts are needed to root it out. Pakistan is determined to eliminate terrorism and a comprehensive strategy is being implemented for this purpose,” he said.
Xia Geng said that Pakistan was a close friend of China. “The warm welcome extended to the Chinese president during his visit to Pakistan was unprecedented. The CPEC will further promote bilateral cooperation. Agreements will be signed for promoting cooperation between the Punjab and Shandong,” he said.
The Shandong Foreign Affairs director general, Chinese Consul General Yu Boren and senior officials of Shandong province participated in the meeting.
Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran, Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan, the Planning and Development Board chairman, the Lahore commissioner and the Punjab Investment Board chairman were also present.
Turkish Grand National Assembly Speaker Ismail Kharaman met the chief minister on Wednesday.
The chief minister warmly welcomed Kharaman and the members of his delegation. “There are historic and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Turkey,” he said.
He said that during the tenure of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the ties of friendship between the two countries had turned into useful economic cooperation.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu have fully supported Pakistan,” he said.
Kharaman strongly condemned the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park attack and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives.
He also paid tribute to the sacrifices made by Pakistanis in the war against terrorism.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2016.