Nawaz talks business on maiden China visit

Published: July 4, 2013
Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif being briefed about the Beijing Subway system. PHOTO: Government of Pakistan website

Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif being briefed about the Beijing Subway system. PHOTO: Government of Pakistan website

Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif being briefed about the Beijing Subway system. PHOTO: Government of Pakistan website PM Nawaz Sharif received by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Fu Ying on his arrival at China. PHOTO: NNI

BEIJING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif started his first foreign visit after being elected in May. With China the first port of call, on Thursday he looked to secure infrastructure projects to tackle a chronic energy crisis and economic malaise back home.

Since his victory at the polls, Nawaz has sought to strengthen economic ties with close ally Beijing as he bids to tackle weak growth, inflation and power cuts of up to 20 hours a day.

His first meetings in the Chinese capital included appointments with leaders from state-owned heavyweights the China Investment Corporation sovereign wealth fund, China Development Bank and China Power Investment Corporation.

Nawaz also met President Xi Jinping on Thursday and will meet Premier Li Keqiang on Friday, according to a schedule provided by officials.

Prime Minister Nawaz told Jinping that his country is facing an economic crisis in tandem with internal and regional security issues and expressed hope that China would stand by Pakistan in difficult times.

“We are proud that you have chosen China for your first overseas visit,” the Chinese President said, adding that he hoped tangible outcomes will emerge as a result of the visit.

Over the weekend the Prime Minister will attend a China-Pakistan Energy Forum in Shanghai and meet with a power company in the southern city of Guangzhou, before flying home on Monday.

Pakistan, where Nawaz won praise for pulling off high-impact infrastructure projects such as a motorway during his two previous tenures in office, has opened its arms to Chinese investment.

Premier Li – the first foreign leader to visit Pakistan after Nawaz’s election – said in Islamabad that Beijing was ready to speed up work to upgrade the Karakoram Highway as part of a proposed economic corridor between the two countries.

Earlier this year, China took control of Gwadar port, giving it access to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the world’s traded oil.

China-Pakistan trade last year reached $12 billion and is targeted to rise to $15 billion in the next two to three years.

The threat of militancy is also likely to figure during Nawaz’s discussions.

PM rides Beijing Subway

Nawaz on Thursday morning tried the Beijing subway system and inquired about its operation and features.

The Prime Minister before travelling in the metro train, went to the operation room, where he was briefed about the subway system of the capital city.

He was also briefed about the cost of the project and the subsidy the government is providing to the commuters.

The Prime Minister was informed that on average 40,000 people ride in the subway per hour.

Talking to press officials, he said that his government is committed to providing low-cost travelling facilities to the masses.

“I am impressed with the underground railway system,” he said, adding that it would be great to have in Pakistan.

Nawaz’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had earlier in the year started a metro bus system in Lahore during the previous government in Pakistan. As part of its election campaign, Nawaz had promised a metro bus system for other urban centres and a metro rail system.

Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Ambassador Masood Khalid, senior officials from China and Pakistan also accompanied the Prime Minister.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Uza Syed
    Jul 4, 2013 - 3:53PM

    The Chinese government recognized Tariq Fatmi’s rank in the cabinet as of Deputy Foreign Minister and accordingly sent their man of the same rank to receive Pakistani delegate there. To broker business deals between the potential buyers and suppliers, meetings are arranged in presence of some middlemen to agree the rate of commission and mode and destination of the same.


  • MUSA
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:15PM

    the best thing in this trip is that A BALOCH CHIEF MINISTER is their along with the Prime Minister! I hardly recall a time when this happened before in Pakistan. where the Chief Minister of the most backward province accompanied the Prime Minister.


  • rizwan
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:33PM

    This would be a historic visit and would set strong foundation for nawaz regime


  • Polpot
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:49PM

    “Pakistan has opened its arms to Chinese investment.”
    The question is whether China has opened its pockets:).


  • Kashif
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:53PM

    I hope Mr. PM focuses more on getting electricity than on getting subway system or bullet train.


  • sm
    Jul 4, 2013 - 8:57PM

    “We are proud that you have chosen China for your first overseas visit,” the Chinese President said.

    did he have any other option? the Chinese are good at making jokes.


  • Pasanni..
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:07PM

    I didn vote PML-N, neither i voted for any other party due to my busy schedule even on May 11, but the team you are having Your Excellency, is the best.. Go ahead,, the nation stands by you


  • Shaami
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:09PM

    Mr Nawaz Sharif should visit Germany as well which have the most elaborate Transport infrastructure of the world. In Germany almost every village is connected via local train system. Then to connect nearby cities they have Regional Bahns ( RB) and for speedy travel they have high speed trains known as ICE. Moreover they have autobahns where on many patches there is no speed limit at all. So PMLN must expand Pak Railways infrastructure where apart from cities small towns will be connected with local train system and new Motorways must be built on the designs of AutoBahn.
    Apart from that Trams are an integral part of city life and PMLN must introduce Tram system in Karachi, Lahore, Pindi , Peshawar and infact in all major cities of Pakistan.


  • Sehar Tauqeer
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:20PM

    Great Step …yay PMl-N


  • Ali Tanoli
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:32PM

    China is great country its devolepment in Africa specialy Ethopia, Uganda, Ghana , Sudan is impressive and I hope Pakistan can get those kind of agreements with china. its building a five thousand KM train treck in ethopia with Turkish companies.


  • expaki
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:36PM

    @rizwan: “This visit and would set strong foundation for nawaz regime”

    Rizwan Sahib, using word REGIME is not so polite for an elected government.


  • Polpot
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:45PM

    Has Nawaz ever visited the control room of Pakistan Railways?
    On his return home he must !


  • Polpot
    Jul 4, 2013 - 9:48PM

    “China-Pakistan trade last year reached $12 billion and is targeted to rise to $15 billion in the next two to three years.”
    It can be either two or three years. Pls dont be vague it gives a wrong impression.


  • Jayesh
    Jul 4, 2013 - 10:04PM

    Nawaz sahib do not know even pakistan railway even exist or not


  • Shazad
    Jul 4, 2013 - 10:50PM

    U don’t need to go anywhere Mr. PM, all u have to do to clean ur own house.


  • Kamran
    Jul 5, 2013 - 12:49AM

    Why Mr. Prime Minister is accompanied by his family members and the chief ministers of those provinces where they are governing? Is he not a prime minister of PAKISTAN?


  • ab
    Jul 5, 2013 - 1:21AM

    First u need to know what a clean house look like,
    Its has been so many years since we had a clean house


  • Polpot
    Jul 5, 2013 - 4:36AM

    @sm: “We are proud that you have chosen China for your first overseas visit,””
    NS still suffers from nightmares of his trip to Washington 14 years ago.


  • Polpot
    Jul 5, 2013 - 4:38AM

    @Shaami: “Motorways must be built on the designs of AutoBahn.”
    Ok we have noted your suggestion for a business trip to Germany.


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