LAHORE: China on Wednesday offered to help Pakistan face major calamities like floods based on its vast experience in disaster management.

“The Chinese side is always ready to help Pakistan in the face of major natural disasters,” Chinese Consul General in Lahore Zhao Shiren said while addressing a webinar to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the establishment Pak-China diplomatic relations, held under the auspices of the Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR).

The diplomat also acknowledged that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been “further expedited with new Pakistan speed” under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He further said China had expressed grief and solidarity over the loss of life and property due to unprecedented flooding in Pakistan, and sent two batches of emergency humanitarian supplies in cash and kind.

Consul general says CPEC has been ‘further expedited with new Pakistan speed’ under Shehbaz, Xi’s leadership

“More assistance will follow accordingly. The consulate, together with the Chinese community in Lahore, also mobilised resources to help the flood relief and rehabilitation efforts. The Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Lahore alone donated and dispatched 10 trucks of food and medicine supplies to south Punjab. We believe that under the leadership of its government, both central and provincial, and with the joint support of the international community, Pakistan can face the challenge, and the post-calamity rehabilitation and reconstruction will be fast-tracked,” said Mr Shiren.

Also speaking on the occasion, Prof Zhou Rong of Chong Yong Institute at the Renmin University said China had vast successful experience in mitigating flood-related damage. “By improving water conservancy infrastructure, weather forecast mechanisms and public awareness, China made a difference. While the country is still facing floods, the losses are gradually decreasing. All these are worth learning for our Pakistani friends,” he maintained.

‘CPEC expedited with Pakistan speed’

The Chinese consul general also annou­nced that the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on the CPEC would soon be convened to check progress on the implementation of the framework agreements on industrial and agricultural cooperation, and people’s livelihood projects.

He said that under the leadership of President Xi and PM Sharif, the CPEC process had been “further expedited with new Pakistan speed”, entering a fast-track growth and expansion. “The Karot hydropower plant began generating electricity, the Gwadar port development produced substantive progress with the East Bay Expressway operationalised.

“All five CPEC-related mega projects in Punjab have either been successfully accomplished or are meeting their pronounced targets, yielding early harvests to mutual satisfaction. More tangible benefits will come with time to contribute to the better livelihood and well-being of the Pakistani people,” the consul general said, claiming CPEC improved Pakistan’s infrastructure and alleviated acute power shortage, playing a pivotal role in pulling Pakistan out of poverty.

The PML-N-led coalition government has blamed the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for “stalling the CPEC project”.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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