Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif highlights safety and economic cooperation with China
Published: Jun 06, 2024 08:39 PM
Photo:Chen Tao/GT

Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif delivers a keynote speech at the Pakistan-China Friendship and Business Reception event in Beijing on June 6, 2024. Photo: Chen Tao/GT

Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif made a strong commitment in Beijing on Thursday during a business reception event, stating that he would attach even greater importance to the safety of Chinese people in Pakistan than to the safety of his own children. He assured that Pakistan will make all necessary arrangements to protect Chinese people.

Shehbaz made the commitment at the Pakistan-China Friendship and Business Reception, which was held in Beijing on Thursday, with the participation of dozens of diplomats and businesspeople from both China and Pakistan. This event was part of the activities during Shehbaz’s visit to China aimed at further enhancing cooperation and pushing forward the construction of the upgraded version of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

At the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Shehbaz is paying an official visit to China from Tuesday to Saturday. This also marks his first visit to China since the establishment of the new Pakistani government this year.

At Thursday’s event, Shehbaz recounted his first visit to China back in 1981 and hailed the remarkable development that China has achieved over the past decades, while stressing that Pakistan wants to learn from China’s progress.

In an op-ed that Shehbaz wrote in the Global Times, he said that he viewed the visit as “a vital opportunity to further strengthen cooperation between Pakistan and China across political, economic, trade, and investment domains.” 

“Personally, it will also be an opportunity for me to, once again, benefit from Chinese wisdom on issues of peace, security, and development,” he wrote in the Global Times. 

During this visit, in addition to leading a federal cabinet, he also led a huge business delegation.

At Thursday’s event, Pakistani businessman Salim Ghauri told the Global Times that he is very excited to visit China with the prime minister and the business delegation.

“China is a friend; China is a big economy. Pakistan can learn from China’s growth and how they achieved it. I think it is important that we come to China regularly and see what China has done and benefit from it,” he told the Global Times.

Ghauri owns a software development company. According to him, China is the company’s biggest market, and they have over 20 customers in the country, including some big companies. The company also runs a main office in China.

“We have Chinese engineers working for us, so we work together in Pakistan and China to develop software... I think there could be more cooperation with the Chinese software industry to research and develop better products,” he said.

Hasan Farid, a postdoctoral fellow at Hohai University, performed a song celebrating the relationship between China and Pakistan at Thursday’s event. Majoring in business administration, he told the Global Times that he hopes to land a job in China in the future, after being in China for seven years.

Farid believes that the prime minister’s visit is a "very good opportunity, and the timing is really important for both Pakistan and China," as the visit demonstrates how serious the government of Pakistan is about CPEC and how much Pakistan is looking forward to attracting foreign investment, especially from China, which is Pakistan's all-weather strategic cooperative partner.

He said people in Pakistan are also looking forward to the development of the upgraded version of the CPEC, viewing it as a "game changer" that will help Pakistan and the region develop.