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May 7, 2021

China like second home to Pakistanis and vice versa: Shahbaz

 
May 7, 2021

LAHORE: PML-N President and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif visited the Chinese High Commission and met Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong here on Thursday.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, Senator Mushahid Hussain and PML-N Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb accompanied him.

This was Shahbaz's first meeting with the Chinese ambassador after his appointment, which was held in a pleasant environment. Shahbaz welcomed the ambassador and congratulated him on his appointment. He said China is like second home to Pakistanis and vice versa. Calling China an exemplary partner and friend of Pakistan, he said during Nawaz Sharif's term in government, this friendship transformed into a lasting and strong economic partnership. This, he said, marked a new era of Pakistan-China ties that turned the friendship deeper than oceans, higher than the Himalayas and sweeter than honey.

Thanking China and its people, he said China helped Pakistan in an exemplary way during the coronavirus pandemic. From sending masks, medics and gear to donating vaccines, the role of China should be recorded in golden words in the history. He said every Pakistani is so proud of Chinese brethren and only a true friend could have helped in this manner. He said the Belt and Road initiative's flagship project CPEC is not just an instrument of prosperity for Pakistan but for the entire region. He paid rich tribute to the resolve of President Xi Jinping and the commitment of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that could transform the future of not just the people of the two countries but of the entire region.

Nawaz Sharif made it possible only within 3 years that the majority of CPEC projects were either completed or were nearing completion, he said, adding that all this was achieved during an ailing economy and 18 hours of power outages but China held Pakistan's hand and took it to the path to prosperity. He thanked God Almighty that the Chinese diplomats were safe in the Quetta Blast. This was a conspiracy to derail the ties between the two countries, he said, adding that the protection of all Chinese people in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Pakistan government. The Chinese ambassador appreciated Shahbaz’s visit and accorded him a warm welcome. He said he already knew Shahbaz because of his Punjab Speed. He said Shahbaz's hard work as the CM Punjab was impressive and praiseworthy. He said he could not keep himself from praising Shahbaz for his ability to deliver because he knew this from personal experience as he was a mayor in China himself.

Nong Rong said the two countries can benefit from Shahbaz Sharif's idea, methods and performance in the future. He said Nawaz Sharif is an old friend of China and Beijing does not forget its friends. He expressed good wishes for Nawaz Sharif. He said he endorsed Shahbaz's perspective that nations cannot progress without industrialisation. For this, the philosophy of industrial zones can take this vision forward. Referring to his visit to the Sahiwal power project, he praised Shahbaz Sharif's efforts. He said this is considered the most speedily-built project not just in Pakistan but all over the world, which was inaugurated in May 2017, six months before its scheduled time.

The envoy invited Shahbaz to China to attend the 100 years of the Communist Party of China in July 2021. Shahbaz thanked the ambassador for the invitation and assured that Pakistan and the PML-N will ensure that this day is celebrated wholeheartedly. He pledged that the Communist Party of China and the PML-N will grow closer.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif met British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner here on Thursday. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb were present in the meeting.

Shahbaz appreciated British assistance to Pakistan during the coronavirus pandemic. He extended his condolences to the British high commissioner for the COVID-19 deaths in Britain. He said that at a time when the pandemic has gripped the entire world, the mankind needs to work together against this scourge as it concerns the survival of humanity. He said Britain and Pakistan have a long history of bilateral relations. A unique aspect of this relationship is that for Pakistanis, the UK is like a second home.

The Pakistani community in the UK is playing a vital role in promoting ties between the two countries, he said, adding that boosting cooperation between the two countries is in their mutual interest. He extended his condolences to the duke of Edinburgh and the royal family on the death of Prince Philip. A minute's silence was observed for the late Prince Philip.

Issues of regional importance, especially the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, were also discussed. Dr Christian Turner wished Shahbaz all the best and a happy Ramazan.