Want investment, not handouts from China: PM

Says Pakistan is keen to emulate Beijing’s development reforms in trade, agriculture

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that “we don’t want handouts but investments from our Chinese friends”.

PM Shehbaz said that in view of China’s immense progress in the last three decades, Pakistan was interested in learning from Beijing’s experience in reforms, particularly in trade and agriculture. Addressing the heads of leading Chinese companies and investors, the prime minister said Pakistan was looking toward China for support in every walk of life in a bid to ensure sustainable development. PM Sharif said the Chinese development was a model to emulate in fields of industry, trade, information technology, and agriculture.

He said with a background of a trusted friendship between the two countries, it was an opportunity for Pakistan to learn from the Chinese experience about reforms in the areas of public interest. He emphasized the need for promoting bilateral trade by means of improving the level of exports and imports in diverse areas.

He said Pakistan was also interested in learning skills from China for the enrichment of its energy resources. PM Sharif thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for extending his support to Pakistan in the shape of the multi-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which he said was helping Pakistan to move forward.

He regarded President Xi as a visionary leader and recalled that he had inked several projects along with the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif to improve power generation in Pakistan aimed at addressing the energy crisis. He expressed confidence that the friendship between Pakistan and China would further grow with time for the benefit of their nations.

Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a telephone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday in which the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest, including the Afghan situation, and the Ukraine crisis. Prime Minister Johnson reiterated his felicitations to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his election and assumption of office and underlined UK’s desire to further enhance its bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended felicitations to the UK on platinum jubilee celebrations of the Queen’s coronation. Both leaders emphasized the importance of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan-UK diplomatic relations in a befitting manner. The prime minister stated that Pakistan highly valued its relations with the UK, which were based on historical linkages and convergent interests on a broad range of issues. The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s desire to bolster its ties with the UK across diverse fields, with a special emphasis on enhanced trade and investment partnership.

Highlighting the long-standing Pakistan-UK ties, the prime minister appreciated the positive role played by 1.6 million Pakistani diasporas in forging closer links and building bridges between the two countries. He further emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of legal migration to fully realize the potential. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underscored the importance of Pakistan-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) and suggested developing a 10-year roadmap for taking relations forward in diverse fields.

He stressed the ESD should deepen mutual engagement and the bilateral partnership should be elevated to the next level. The prime minister also appreciated the work undertaken by the UK in promoting education, health and other social sectors in Pakistan. In the regional context, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underscored the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the need to scale up efforts to avert the humanitarian crisis.