Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif said, on Sunday, that in the new security environment when Pakistani are being killed every day by US drone attacks, the importance of time-tested allies like China increases enormously.
Speaking to the media at the Lahore airport prior to his departure to Beijing, the CM said among other issues, his delegation would talk about possible Sino-Pak collaboration in the war against terror.
“I am going to sign an agreement and not a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the Taunsa project with the Chinese government,” Sharif said. He added that other agreements on road infrastructure and transport would also be on the table.
The CM, who is leading a 20-person delegation of businessmen and parliamentarians to China, said that many Pakistanis are suffering at the hands of drone strikes and it is imperative to speak with our ‘long lasting friends’ on this issue.
“I am going to China on the invitation of the Chinese communist party and the visit will, hopefully, yield positive and far-reaching results,” Sharif said as he embarked on a five-day trip.
The CM was seen off by the Chinese ambassador, Jiang Luo. Luo said, “The Chinese communist party and the people of China are looking forward to receiving the chief minister of Pakistan’s largest province.”
A Punjab government spokesperson said, “The CM is within his constitutional mandate when signing agreements with a foreign government.” After the approval of the 18th amendment, provinces can sign bilateral agreements with foreign governments if certain provisions are not violated.
The CM is within his constitutional mandate when signing agreements with a foreign government.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2011.
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