KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has proposed turning the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into a “trilateral arrangement” between China, Pakistan and Turkey so that all three nations could benefit from its potential.

He made the remarks while addressing a launching ceremony on Friday at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works for the third Milgem corvette built by Turkey, where he was the chief guest. “Trade activities have the potential to increase manifold with the development of financial and industrial activities. The ongoing CPEC project is set to translate our desire to enhance regional connectivity and maximise trade [...] with Gwadar at its focal point,” the premier said.

“I would like to avail this opportunity to propose that let this — CPEC — be a trilateral arrangement between China, Pakistan and Turkey and let us benefit from its wonderful potential to benefit our nations,” he said, assuring the participants that the government was committed to developing maritime infrastructure.

At the outset, PM Shehbaz began by lauding the launch of the warship built with the cooperation and collaboration of a Turkish company.

Says Imran enjoyed ‘unprecedented support’ from state institutions

Mr Sharif said indigenisation was at the forefront of Pakistan’s national policy and it was encouraging to see modern warships being built in Pakistan and Turkey.

The newly launched corvette is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and anti-submarine weapons, which would significantly boost Pakistan Navy’s defensive and offensive capabilities.

In a video message, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country wanted to share its expertise with Pakistan in the area of defence, adding that the Milgem project was one such example.

‘Imran annoyed China’

Later, during an address at the Chief Minister House, where he was invited by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss key economic issues, the premier briefly touched on the ongoing political situation of the country.

Calling PTI chairman Imran Khan a laadla (blue-eyed), PM Sharif said Mr Khan’s rule had enjoyed “unprecedented support” from state institutions and regretted the country could “rise like a rocket” if his government had only 30 per cent of that support.

He also accused the former minister of annoying China after “fake accusations” were made against CPEC, which slowed down the pace of development work under the project.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sharif took notice of a fire that engulfed pine (Sanober) trees in Balochistan’s Sherani district and directed the federal disaster management departments to take immediate measures to put out the fire, spanning a radius of seven kilometres.

Lawyers’ meeting

Earlier, a group of senior lawyers called on the prime minister to discuss significant political and constitutional developments happening in the country. According to Prime Minister Office, the premier said the government would extend all possible cooperation to lawyers in performing their professional duties. He directed the law minister to immediately start working on amendments to the Lawyers’ Protection Act and Bar Council Act.

The lawyers’ leaders stressed that their community had always been playing its role in strengthening the country’s democratic institutions and would continue to do so in future as well.

Syed Irfan Raza in Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2022

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