Karachi - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) believes that CPEC can act as a force multiplier for Pakistan.

“It is not merely a road construction project; rather a long-term strategic development agenda. I would say that our relationship with China is beyond CPEC,” he added.

He was delivering his presidential address at a programme, held here at a local hotel on Wednesday under the auspices of Chinese Consulate.

The programme was held to screen a documentary titled “CPEC; a real transformation to people’s life in Kaarachi”.

The programme was attended by a large number of leading businessman, diplomats and notables.

He said that in the documentary a strong partnership between Pakistan and China in different sectors such as port & shipping, wind energy, finance, construction and cultural activities, under which Chinese are learning Urdu and Pakistanis are learning Chinese and other activities were shown thriving. “This is a new change under which friendship between the two nations would further cement,” he opined.

He added the relationship between Pakistan and China was the one that was based on trust, interwoven with friendship, and cemented with confidence and pride.

 “The bond between our peoples and civilizations is even deeper right from the arrival of great Buddhist monks in the early 4th century to the traders walking along the historic Silk route,” he recalled.

The chief minister said that since 1950 five generations of Chinese & Pakistani leadership had initiated, cultivated and fostered a relationship that had sustained all rigours of time. “Today, we proudly say that People’s Republic of China is Pakistan’s “all weather friend,” he said, and added, “The charismatic leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave new heights to this relationship.”

He added Prime Minister Bhutto had elucidated his thoughts when he said “If we look around us, the only great power whose objective interests coincide with Pakistan’s, and the only country capable of assisting Pakistan, is the People’s Republic of China,” he quoted.

Murad said that Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari developed close ties with the leadership of Communist Party of China. “The new generation, under Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, continues to consider China as a dependable brother and friend,” the CM added.

Talking about his government stance, the chief minister said that the government of Sindh was fully supportive to all CPEC projects. “I am happy to report that the major projects located in Sindh have not only achieved financial close but some are on the verge of beginning commercial operations,” he added.

Thar ‘Coal mining and power plants’ is the flagship project of the Sindh government. “Like CPEC, Thar Coal development is a defining moment for Pakistan’s economy,” he said, and added, “After achieving financial close in April 2016, the project is progressing swiftly, and soon we are going to expand the coal mine in order to achieve economies of scale and bring the coal price down. Additionally, another CPEC project (Thar coal block-1) is expected to achieve financial close by March 2017,” he announced.

He said that in addition to coal, one CPEC wind project is complete (Hydro China Dawood-50 MW) and two more (UEP-100 MW, Sachal-50 MW) would be complete by June, 2017.  He went on saying, China Three Gorges (100 MW) company would achieve financial close by April 2017.  “There is a huge potential to develop wind energy and we have received tremendous response as a direct result of our favourable policies,” he said and went on saying “to support grid issues, we have incorporated Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company. Here I must mention that the Government of Sindh, ever mindful of energy needs, has allotted 30,000 acres of land for renewable energy projects,” he said.

The chief minister talking about the security of Chinese citizens said it is a top priority of the government. “We are amassing a dedicated force of 2,000 former soldiers for this purpose. This would be in addition to 4,000 policemen who are already being trained by Pakistan army. I have set up a special desk at my office and central police office for CPEC security,” he said. Talking about three projects of Karachi Circular Railway, Keti bandar Power Park and China Special Economic Zone at Dhabeji, Syed Murad Ali Shah said they have been included in the CPEC projects.

 “I am going to China in the delegation of the prime minister tomorrow and these projects would be approved there,” he said.Earlier, Chinese Consul General Mr Wang Yu delivered the welcome speech and highlight some facts about the documentary he launched.On the occasion cultural show was also presented in which Chinese songs were presented to entertain the guests.