The Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif held a “comprehensive” telephone call with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday during which he affirmed the government’s “firm resolve” to fast track China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Pakistan media reported.
A handout released by Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said PM Shehbaz expressed the government’s resolve to fast track ongoing and new CPEC projects which had “immensely contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan”.
He highlighted the need for both sides to work together and enhance cooperation between the relevant agencies of the two countries in order to fully operationalise special economic zones (SEZs) at as soon as possible, Dawn reported.
“While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the prime minister expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces,” the handout said.
Shehbaz also 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.
He thanked the neighbouring country 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 in detail, agreeing that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the long-standing partnership between the two countries.
During the phone call, Shehbaz also 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.