Nawaz to leave for China tonight. Dar is accompanying him

Nawaz to leave for China tonight. Dar is accompanying him


Visit shows the elder Sharif is still calling the shots in PML-N

  • Three-time former prime minister is credited with materialising CPEC
  • Islamabad is desperate to revive the multibillion-dollar venture which saw little progress since the ouster of PML-N supremo's govt in 2017
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LAHORE/ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will leave for China on a five-day visit on Monday night during which Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar is going to accompany him, again showing that the PML-N supremo remains active in political affairs at both domestic and international levels.  

He is scheduled to meet business leaders and heads of different Chinese companies as Dar’s presence during the visit shows that the ruling party is still relying on the goodwill enjoyed by Nawaz to attract foreign investment and maintain cordial relations with the two friendly states. 

Meanwhile, there are reports that Nawaz may also hold talks with the top Chinese leaders.

It is Nawaz who materialised the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a project of great economic and strategic significance which saw very little progress after the ouster of his government in 2017 and is first of large ventures initiated by Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

Given the economic crisis Pakistan has been facing, the coalition government led by PML-N wants to revive CPEC to generate much-needed economic activity in the country.

Moreover, the selection of China for his first foreign visit after returning to Pakistan in October last also signifies the importance Nawaz and his party gives to the Asian giant. 

Earlier, it was reported that 16 Chinese companies had shown interest in the Nawaz Sharif IT City – a brainchild of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz who has envisaged similar projects in all the major cities of the province – while eight others were ready to work immediately. 

Interestingly, the elder Sharif’s sojourn to China comes before the planned visit by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who is expected to hold talks with the Chinese leadership next month.

At the same time, Dar accompanying Nawaz shows how much trust he enjoys by the party leadership and highlights the reason for his appointment as foreign minister.

But perhaps the importance of this visit can be gauged by another fact that it has been planned after the recent Shangla terror attack on Chinese engineers working on the Dasu hydropower Project.

It was followed by a strong commitment expressed by Pakistan to deal with those forces with an iron hand, which have been targeting the Chinese nationals to sabotage the friendly ties between the two nations.