Second phase of CPEC to focus on high quality development: Shehbaz

Expresses gratitude to Chinese leadership for supporting Pakistan at critical juncture with financial support.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said China and Pakistan were entering into the second phase of flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would help promote investment, progress and prosperity not only for Pakistan but also for the entire region.

Addressing at a ceremony held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of CPEC, the prime minister said the second phase would focus on high quality development, envisaging a growth corridor, with completion of special economic zones, industrial and green corridors, and openness and connectivity.

The prime minister said today, Gwadar had been turned into a busy a city with huge potential in the time to come.

CPEC would ensure it as the busiest trade hub in the region, he said, adding that his government was placing due focus and attention to the development of the port with full speed and commitment.

He said the government had allocated resources and made the supply of power and drinking water available while further development initiatives were in the pipeline.  Prime Minister Sharif said that CPEC was going to turn around Pakistan’s economy through the multiple programme and initiatives.  

He also expressed gratitude to the Chinese leadership for supporting Pakistan at the critical juncture with financial support and thanked the Chinese bank and their commercial banks for their loans roll over in the last few months.

“But we have to move away from these borrowed loans and aids and have to stand on our feet to show to the world that our people are great, energetic and capable of facing the difficult challenges,” he stressed.

The ceremony was attended by Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping, Vice Premier of China and Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, He Lifeng, the ministers, members of the Chinese delegation, parliamentarians, chief ministers, senior officials and relevant authorities.

The prime minister also thanked the Chinese leadership and other friendly nations for their support during the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which he termed as one of the challenges faced by Pakistan.

The prime minister said it also provided them an opportunity “of introspection and moment to carve out a way forward,” and to emulate the Chinese model of development.

He underlined that Pakistan needed Chinese expertise and to learn from their experiences as taking 800 million people out of poverty in just three and half decades was a miracle which had never happened in the world. It was possible only through the visionary leadership, hard work and journey of sweating blood by the Chinese leadership and the people, he further opined.

The prime minister said during their meeting today, they had announced joint working groups to further boost their cooperation in diverse fields for the mutual benefits of the ‘Iron brothers’.

He said there was complete unanimity among the 220 million people of Pakistan and its entire political and military leadership that China was a sincere friend.

“Pakistan soon, one day, will stand on its feet and we will generate our own resources, eliminate poverty and provide jobs as China did,” he added.

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