CPEC not limited to any single province: CM


— Says friends, enemies of Pakistan and China are the same


LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not limited to any of the provinces, but was a gigantic project for the whole country.

“It is not a project that is only about building roads and bridges, but is a broader initiative of interconnecting different continents, regions and countries,” he said.

Addressing the CPEC Seminar held under the aegis of Ministry of Planning & Development in Karachi, the chief minister said the CPEC would have to be transformed into a huge development project which would benefit the 200 million people of Pakistan.

“CPEC has become a game-changer and this mega project has opened new avenues of cooperation in Pak-China friendship. It depends on us to make it a success,” he said and added that enemies were engaged in a spate of negative propaganda regarding the CPEC as they did not want Pakistan to prosper.

“The enemies of CPEC are, in fact, the enemies of Pakistan and its enemies are opponents of our development and prosperity. Our enemies do not want Pakistan to become self-reliant. We are happy that the lion’s share has been given to the province of Sindh under the CPEC,” said Shehbaz and added that the work on the Thar Coal Project was being continued at a fast pace due to the CPEC.

“Let us join hands and work harder with commitment and untiring efforts to make Pakistan a role model in the world. We should take full benefit of the opportunity and work collectively to make the country a modern welfare state,” he added.

The chief minister said that after the general elections of 2013, he had visited China along with the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and held parleys with the Chinese leadership for energy projects. “The energy crisis had badly affected the economy and every other sector in Pakistan back then. The Chinese leadership well-understood the problems faced by Pakistan, especially our energy needs and helped us in the hour of trial. There is no doubt that China is a trustworthy friend of Pakistan and has always helped us selflessly,” added Shehbaz.

He also said that China made a colossal investment in Pakistan without chanting “Do More” in the garb of the investment. “This is the friendship of Pakistan and China, which is higher than the Himalayas, sweeter than honey, and deeper than the deepest sea. The Pakistani nation can never forget what the Chinese did for us,” he said.

The chief minister said the belt and road was an example of the wonderful vision of the Chinese president and the CPEC was an extended phase of it. He said the political leadership of Pakistan had worked very hard and sincerely to give a practical shape to the CPEC.

He also said that a new record had been set after the completion of the 1320-megawatts Sahiwal Coal Power Plant well before time. “It is a project that has not only broken the Chinese record of speedy completion but has no other match across the globe in terms of work duration,” he said.