PAK-US ties wont Hamper with Chinese Investment - Shahbaz Sharif
LAHORE: A day after conclusion of the Chinese president’s visit, the chief minister stills seems in a celebratory mood as he urgently convened a press conference here on Wednesday evening to highlight the importance of investment China has promised to make in Pakistan.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif read out a written statement refusing to respond to any query by the media except those that would help extol the visit. A comprehensive version of his statement had already been published a day ago.
When asked if the government would set up a special task force to overcome the notorious red-tapism in implementing development projects, he replied in the affirmative, saying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sought a system for monitoring and following-up on provision of facilities to Chinese for various investment projects.
Lauding Beijing for coming to the aid of Islamabad at a critical juncture in history, the chief minister said President Xi Jinping directed Chinese banks to arrange funding within weeks for the $46 billion projects in Pakistan. Now, he said, it was the government’s responsibility to ensure fast track implementation of the projects.
When asked if Pakistan-US relations could be disturbed by Chinese investment, Shahbaz replied in the negative arguing that if the record investment could help overcome terrorism and create jobs for millions of jobless Pakistanis then why it should spoil relations with other countries.
Responding to a query, he said of the total Chinese investment, Punjab’s share was $4.2 billion, while Sindh’s $9 billion.
In response to a question, he said it would be better to become a friend of China than a stooge of India.
He said the historic package of $46 billion by China was not a gift for only a single federating unit of the country, but for the 180 million people of Pakistan. He recalled 17 years ago Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made Pakistan’s defence invincible by making it a nuclear power and credit for organising the national economy on sound foundations also went to the prime minister. He hoped the fate of the national economy would change due to the Chinese investment.
He said China did not have oil or gas but this was its hard-earned money that it had given to a friendly country to help it stand on its feet and achieve economic stability. He pledged not to compromise on transparency for implementing these agreements. He also urged local investors to come forward and invest here.
The chief minister said the political and military leadership assured Chinese authorities that all-out security arrangements would be made for thousands of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan.
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