Ready to enhance security, safety of Chinese in Pakistan, PM Shehbaz tells Premier Keqiang


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday assured Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that Pakistan is determined to take all necessary measures for the enhanced security and safety of the Chinese people in Pakistan.

The two leaders held a comprehensive telephonic conversation today, according to the PM Office. Traditional warmth and cordiality marked the talks between the two leaders — a hallmark of the Pakistan-China relationship.

During the talks, the Karachi suicide bomb attack that resulted in the death of three Chinese scholars came under discussion. The interaction between the two leaders came in the backdrop of Chinese academics teaching at the Confucius Institute of the University of Karachi leaving the country.

The prime minister offered his condolences to the Chinese government and people and expressed sympathies with the families of victims of the heinous terrorist attack.

PM Shehbaz strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold a thorough investigation and apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act, bringing them to justice in accordance with local laws.

He also 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.

Apart from the deliberations on the attack, 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.

The prime minister thanked China for its firm support of Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and reaffirmed his government’s unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest.

PM Shehbaz 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 realise its high-quality development.

He underscored the need for both sides to work together and enhance cooperation between the concerned agencies of the two countries to fully operationalise the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at an early date.

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 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 the ML-1 project.

While emphasising people-to-people contacts, PM Shehbaz Sharif also conveyed sentiments of the families of the Pakistani students, who were desirous of returning to China for the resumption of their studies.

Premier Keqiang assured the PM Shehbaz of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade, and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan.

Both the prime ministers shared the view that the “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.