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Pakistani PM Imran now takes charge of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, other foreign investments

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) holds a welcome ceremony for his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan (left) on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

BEIJING, Oct 10, 2019, Pakistan Today, Xinhua. Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in China on a two-day official visit, on Tuesday touted newly-formed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, saying as per the new policy his office [Prime Minister’s Office] will deal with all the foreign investments and the corridor, reported the Pakistan Today.

Speaking at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, the prime minister said the pro-business policies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will facilitate investors and that he had taken a conscious decision to make it easier for investors to come to Pakistan after his party assumed power after 2018 general election.

“We will want them to make profits in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the PM’s Office will be dealing with all the major investments, including CPEC.

“We have now decided that there will be one authority which will resolve all the problems of CPEC, and that authority will be the Prime Minister’s Office, so that my office can make it easier for people investing in Pakistan,” he said.

The PM recounted various steps that Pakistan had taken, including the completion of phase one of the Gwadar Free Zone.

He said that there were various reasons for people to invest in Pakistan, including its strategic location, its young population and the economic revival taking place in the country — particularly the strides made in the ease of doing business as well as the industrial clusters through special economic zones (SEZs).

Prime Minister Imran named the sectors Pakistan wanted Chinese investment in: textile, manufacturing, IT and financial services, physical and technological logistics, tourism and hospitality, food processing and agriculture, housing as well as in oil and gas.

XI’S ANTI-CORRUPTION MODEL

PM Imran Khan also expressed his desire for following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s model of countering corruption and send 500 corrupt people to jail, saying processing of corruption cases in Pakistan was “very cumbersome”.

On the occasion, the PM said one thing he had learned from China was how the country’s leadership tackled corruption.

“One of President Xi Jinping’s biggest crusades was against corruption,” he said, adding that he had heard that some 400 “ministerial-level people” had been convicted over corrupt practices and put behind jail in the last five years in China.

Referring to Xi’s anti-corruption drive in 2012, PM Imran said: “I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail.”

Besides corruption, the PM also praised Chinese that had lifted over 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years, calling it “unprecedented”.

PM MEETS CHINESE PREMIER

Later, the PM arrived at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing where his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang received him.

The prime minister also stressed the importance of the CPEC project in a meeting with PM Li Keqiang and said the project was pivotal for Pakistan’s “economic development and regional prosperity”.

During the meeting, Li thanked Imran for the measures to advance the CPEC projects and maintained that the second phase of CPEC would be instrumental in reinforcing and consolidating Pakistan’s economic development and pave the way for enhanced Chinese investments in Pakistan.

Both the leaders also agreed that the implementation of the 2nd phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as it “would lead to more trade, economic and investment opportunities between the two countries”.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of various agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) aimed at deepening Pakistan-China ties in a range of socio-economic sectors.

PM Imran also apprised the Chinese counterpart of the latest developments and the importance of urgent action by the international community to alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people in the lockdown.

According to Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent at the official welcome ceremony where the national anthems for both China and Pakistan were played.

The Chinese premier was also introduced to members of the Pakistani delegation.

Earlier, China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang, among other businessmen, called on the premier.

As per an FO press release, the China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) — one of the most competitive listed companies with very strong financing capabilities in China — showed keen interest in exploring new business avenues in Pakistan particularly in the energy sector.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtiar, Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gillani, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industries, Production and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar were present in the meeting.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a number of cooperative agreements in which China will help 50 universities in Pakistan build 100 smart classrooms and help the South Asian country build a desalination plant, Xinhua reported.

The two nations will also step up cooperation and exchanges in maritime law enforcement and the protection of cultural relics as part of the agreements.

Luo Zhaohui, vice-minister of foreign affairs, said at a news briefing after the meeting that both countries have reached broad consensus on the development of the CPEC.

“The two sides will focus on the expansion of the CPEC development to areas such as industrial cooperation, giving greater priority to the well-being of the people and extending the corridor to the western areas of Pakistan,” Luo said.

The two nations reaffirmed their determination to fight all forms of terrorism, and China will support Pakistan in conducting its anti-terrorism campaign to the very end, he added.

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