PM pledge resolve to fast-track ongoing & new projects under CPEC

PM directs wheat procurement by provinces to be done by June 1


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang Monday shared the view that Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership must continue to serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries, as well as the broader interests of peace and stability amidst the evolving regional and global milieu.
To this end, the two leaders agreed to enhance the momentum of exchanges to take bilateral cooperation to even higher levels.
The prime minister and premier Li Keqiang held a comprehensive telephonic conversation which was marked by traditional warmth and cordiality, which is the hallmark of Pakistan-China relationship, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
The two premiers also discussed in detail bilateral matters, while agreeing that Pakistan and China would not allow anyone to harm the time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked China 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.
He also affirmed his government’s firm resolve to fast-track both the ongoing as well as the new projects under the transformational China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which had immensely contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan and also realize its high-quality development.
The prime minister underscored the need for both sides to work together and enhance cooperation between the concerned agencies of the two countries to fully operationalize the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at an early date.
While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, he expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who had remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces.
The prime minister also expressed his commitment to working with renewed zeal and enthusiasm, in concert with China, especially on projects of strategic significance for both the countries, such as ML-1 project.
The prime minister offered his condolences to the government and people of China and expressed sympathies with the families of victims of the heinous terrorist attack that took place at the Karachi University on 26 April 2022, in which three Chinese scholars lost their lives.
While strongly condemning the terrorist attack, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with our laws.
The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan attached the highest importance to the safety, security and protection of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on economic projects and institutions.
He assured premier Li that his government was determined to take all necessary measures for their enhanced security and safety in Pakistan.
While emphasizing people-to-people contacts, prime minister Shehbaz Sharif also conveyed sentiments of the families of the Pakistani students who were desirous of retuning to China for resumption of their studies.
Premier Li assured the prime minister of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan.
Meanwhile to another official commitment, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday expressing his displeasure over the delay in procurement of wheat by the provinces stressed completion of the process by June 1. He directed the Minister for Food Security and Research to set up an urgent committee for transparent distribution of imported wheat in the provinces.
The prime minister said the people could not be made to suffer and the federal government would provide flour at a lower price. He directed to fix the price of 10 kg flour at Rs 490 at the Utility Stores and also stressed steps to ensure the same price in open market in the provinces.
He said such a delaying approach could not be tolerated and vowed that the federal government would extend all possible assistance to provinces. He said beyond politics, the federal government would do everything possible to help the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PM Sharif said serving the poor was the responsibility of the government.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Tariq Bashir Cheema, Marriyum Aurangzeb and officials of the relevant ministries. The provincial chief secretaries joined the meeting through video-link. Likewise, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to provide foolproof security to Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan. PM Sharif was given a detailed briefing by the Interior Ministry on the security of the former prime minister. He also ordered the deployment of a Chief Security Officer immediately along with the former prime minister. The prime minister also directed all the provincial governments to provide security to the PTI Chairman during the rallies.

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