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China's economic assistance applauded

Focus will be on high-quality BRI with better returns, former Pakistan PM says

By XU WEIWEI in Boao, Hainan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-03 06:56

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) shakes hands with an engineer from the China Gezhouba Group working at the Dasu Hydropower project in the Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province on Monday. PAKISTAN PRESS INFORMATION DEPARTMENT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Former Pakistani prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stressed the importance of building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future, as he condemned a terror attack that killed some Chinese workers in his country last week.

Describing the March 26 attack that claimed the lives of five Chinese workers in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as a very sad and unfortunate incident, Abbasi denounced the attack and said his country is committed to protecting Chinese nationals working in the country.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday visited the Dasu Hydropower Project's camp to console the Chinese personnel at the project. Sharif expressed his grief over the deaths and sent his condolences to the relatives of the victims and the Chinese personnel.

It is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to protect the safety of the Chinese brothers and sisters who have come to Pakistan to help its development and progress, he said.

Chinese companies and workers have resumed work at different sites in Pakistan a few days after the attack on Chinese engineers.

Contrary to propaganda peddled by vested interests, work on the Tarbela Dam extension project has resumed, a testament to the resolve of both nations in the face of adversity, and a classic example of Pakistan-China friendship, Sharif said.

"China firmly supports Pakistan in looking into what happened with utmost resolve and effort, bringing the perpetrators and whoever's behind the attack to justice and doing everything possible to protect the safety and security of Chinese personnel, projects, and institutions in Pakistan," said Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, on Monday.

In an interview with China Daily in Boao, Hainan province, Abbasi lauded China's help to Pakistan through the Belt and Road Initiative and the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, project, saying he finds China's engagement and the way the Chinese system works fascinating.

BRI projects are "basically left to the host country to decide what to do", said Abbasi, who recently took on a new role as a member of the board of directors of the Boao Forum for Asia.

He said the Chinese side's framework for the CPEC had only two requirements: projects should be economically viable, and they should be environmentally sustainable.

According to him, CPEC projects have been developed at an amazing speed in the past decade. Now, the focus is shifting to high-quality BRI, which is moving away from signature projects to those that yield better returns and are more technology-focused.

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