CM terms visit to China ‘successful’
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif, while talking about his visit to China, said it had been very successful and agreements have been made for cooperation in the sectors of energy, transport and others, which is the reflection of the love Chinese authorities have for the people of Pakistan.
He said that all-out efforts would be made to give a practical shape to these agreements. He said that China is Pakistan’s best friend and its role in development of various sectors of the country is commendable. He said that China has achieved the pinnacle of progress through hard work, dedication and austerity, which has astonished the whole world. “It has become the second largest economy of the world and the pace of its progress serves as a role model for us,” he said, adding that there is no dearth of resources in Pakistan, the dearth is of “commitment”, which can easily be countered if we make hard work, honesty and determination our motto.
The CM said all this while talking to media persons at the CM’s Secretariat on Monday. Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Members Provincial Assembly Salman Rafiq, Hafiz Mian Nauman and Lahore Transport Company chairman were also present on the occasion.
The CM also informed that agreements had been made regarding 120 megawatt (MW) hydel-power project at Taunsa Barrage and a 50MW solar power plant and Lahore Mass Transit System. “We hope to start work on both the projects this year,” he said. He said that negotiations had been made with Chinese companies concerning provision of buses and the Rawalpindi and Lahore Ring Road projects.
The CM said, “Pakistan has many friends across the globe, but China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are our real friends and have always helped us in the hour of need.” He said that Chinese people love Pakistanis and they consider Pakistan as their second home and are always willing to help the country in difficulties.
However, he said, “The friendly relations between the two countries do not reflect in the economic and trade sectors,” he said, adding, “Trade between China and Pakistan is of seven billion dollars whereas trade between China and India is of 60 billion dollars.” He stressed on the need of enhancing economic and trade relations between the two countries and termed the recent agreements an important step in this direction. Later, while replying to the media’s questions, the CM said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not against the creation of new provinces but the party will first reflect and consider the locations of the new provinces in the country.
“I never said that Karachi should be a separate province. My talk with media in DG Khan was misinterpreted,” he said, adding he never put forward any such desire, and had merely “asked” the people there about Karachi being made into a separate province.
Shahbaz said that a debate could be held in the parliament with regards to the creation of new provinces, as approval by two-third majority of parliament is needed for the establishment of new provinces. While replying to a question regarding acquisition of technology against drone attacks from China, he said that Pakistan itself has the capability to shoot down the drones, however, China is ready to provide technology, expertise and all possible cooperation for elimination of terrorism.
Replying to another question, he said that the campaign against illegal encroachments has yielded positive results and no compromise will be made in this regard. He said that illegal encroachments would not be allowed. Regarding procurement of wheat, the CM said that wheat is being purchased from small farmers on priority basis so that middleman would not be able to exploit them.