Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured Chinese Premier on Monday that his government was determined to take all necessary measures for the enhanced security and safety of all Chinese nationals working in Pakistan.
A communique issued by the office of the prime minister stated that the premier held a comprehensive telephonic conversation with H.E. Mr Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
The talks between the two leaders were marked by the traditional warmth and cordiality, which is the hallmark of Pakistan-China relationship.
PM Shehbaz offered his condolences to the government and people of China and expressed sympathies with the families of victims of the heinous terrorist attack that took place at the University of Karachi (KU) on April 26, 2022, in which three Chinese scholars lost their lives.
The premier strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm resolve to hold thorough investigation, to apprehend the perpetrators of this criminal act and to bring them to justice in accordance with the country’s laws.
The prime minister 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.
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.
According to the press release, PM Shehbaz thanked China for its firm support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national development and reaffirmed his government’s unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest.
The prime minister also 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.
The prime minister 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, the communique further read.
While recalling Pakistan-China sister-city partnerships, the premier expressed his desire to learn from the experience of those Chinese officials who have remained instrumental in setting up SEZs in their provinces.
PM Shehbaz 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 emphasizing people-to-people contacts, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also conveyed sentiments of the families of the Pakistani students who were desirous of retuning to China for resumption of their studies.
Premier Li was said to have assured PM Shehbaz of China’s readiness to enhance economic cooperation, expand trade and encourage greater investments from China to Pakistan.
Both Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Premier Li Keqiang 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.
‘Chinese teachers leaving’
The phone call between the two premiers comes as Chinese teachers were reported to have started leaving Pakistan back for China.
Eleven Chinese teachers living at a cordoned off area of the NED University left under high security for the Jinnah International Terminal to catch a flight home, it was reported a day earlier.
After the suicide bombing at University of Karachi (KU) last month, the Chinese language classes at the Confucius Institute and NED University had practically stopped. The KU and NED authorities are now considering teaching the Chinese language online.
KU Institute Director Professor Dr Nasiruddin Khan has confirmed the departure of the Chinese teachers from Pakistan. Talking to The Express Tribune, he said in a sombre tone that Chinese teachers and officials had decided to leave on Sunday evening.