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Putin hopes Shehbaz govt will further boost Pak-Russia ties

Updated 13 Apr, 2022
A combination of file photos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (R). AFP/PID
A combination of file photos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (R). AFP/PID
Charge d’ Affaires of People’s Republic of China Pang Chunxue calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on April 12, 2022. PID
Charge d’ Affaires of People’s Republic of China Pang Chunxue calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on April 12, 2022. PID

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope that newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would further boost the multifaceted cooperation between the two countries.

Shehbaz was elected as the 23rd prime minister of the country after 174 lawmakers voted in his favour and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs boycotted the election. In his speech to the National Assembly on Monday, the premier stressed the need for boosting ties with neighbouring countries, friendly countries, and the US.

“Our countries share friendly and constructive relations. I hope that as prime minister you will seek to further promote closer multifaceted cooperation between Russia and Pakistan, as well as partnership in the Afghan settlement and countering international terrorism,” the Russian president said in a congratulatory message on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Charge d’ Affaires of China Pang Chunxue called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the PM Office in Islamabad. The envoy emphasized that the latter was “viewed as a strong and committed friend” of China and “enjoyed great respect and admiration” there.

During the courtesy call, the charge d’ affaires congratulated the prime minister and passed on good wishes from the Chinese government and leadership.

The charge d’ affaires also lauded the prime minister for promoting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the years that he was the chief minister of Punjab.

Conveying his warm greetings to the Chinese leadership, the prime minister recalled many visits to China, where he also met with President Xi Jinping, who had taken a “personal interest” in promoting relations with Pakistan.

The prime minister appreciated CPEC’s continued progress as the flagship project of President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative and its importance for the economic development and prosperity of Pakistan.

He affirmed his government’s resolve to speed up the high-quality development of CPEC projects and make it a symbol of China-Pakistan friendship and a close partnership. Shehbaz underlined the importance of enhanced investment from China in industrialisation, agriculture, and digital technologies.

Recalling his close cooperation with China as the Punjab CM, the prime minister reaffirmed the ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between Pakistan and China’ as a “cornerstone” of Pakistan’s policy and factor for regional peace.

He underscored that “friendship with China resided in the hearts of the people of Pakistan and China was Pakistan’s strongest friend and closest partner.”

The prime minister affirmed his government’s commitment to further deepening the win-win economic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

The United States administration on Monday reiterated that Pakistan was critical to its interests, which remain unchanged regardless of who is leading the country.

“We support the peaceful upholding of Constitutional democratic principles. We don’t support one political party over another and we certainly support the principles of rule of law, equal justice under the law,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to a query during a weekly press briefing on Monday.

“We value our longstanding cooperation with Pakistan. [We] have always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests that remain unchanged regardless of who the leadership is,” she added.