LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif Sunday addressed Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

The world leaders and heads of states of different countries especially appreciated the chief minister’s address.

According to an official handout issued from here, the chief minister said that Belt and Road vision is a harbinger of a new era of connectivity and integration. He said President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative is not only bold and futuristic but also epic and historic.

He said the Belt and Road is a wonderful platform to boost cooperation, build future cooperative frameworks and share cooperation outcomes. Launched in the backdrop of slow global economic recovery, new threats posed to economic globalization, and greater calls for protectionism, President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative is an innovative and trailblazing concept, he added.

The chief minister said this bold Belt and Road initiative of President Xi Jinping has laid the foundation of safe future and will give new dimensions to development plans. He said President Xi’s Belt and Road vision has the potential to bring about lasting peace, stability and economic integration in the region. Rooted in the idea of ‘bread and butter’, it is aimed at winning the battle for hearts and minds by making the people shareholders in the journey of economic development.

He said it is an effective recipe to neutralise and overcome the scourges of terrorism and extremism by empowering the peoples. The incorporation of OBOR in the United Nation Security Council resolution signals greater global ownership of the project and an affirmation of President Xi Jinping’s vision and his visionary leadership, he added.

The chief minister said the Silk Road is not only meant for merchandise and other commodities trade but it will also transmit knowledge, ideas and help bring different cultures closer. The connectivity of people remains at the heart of creating a community of nations with a common destiny, he added. He said President Xi’s unwavering advocacy of economic globalization is based on the sure foundation of connectivity among the peoples.

It is here that making the process of economic globalization ‘more inclusive, more sustainable and more reinvigorated’ is so crucial to fully benefit from its outcome. He said the economic disparity between developing South and developed North is a glaring reality. The real potential of OBOR lies in bridging the yawning gap between the North and South through win-win partnerships, he added.

He said we support President Xi Jinping’s vision and remain eternally grateful to President Xi for his historic gift of over $50 billion in the form of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Never in Pakistan’s 70-year-old history, has any friendly country given such a development package even at much smaller scale than this one. He said history has yet to record a parallel example of such a generosity, and large-heartedness not only in the region but also in the entire globe.

He said breathtaking progress is being made in the implementation of CPEC in Pakistan and with the highest level of transparency, efficiency and effectiveness; the building blocks of CPEC are being installed. CPEC is reshaping the geo-economic landscape and is a game-changer not only for Pakistan but also the entire region, he added. He said revival of New Silk Roads, which is at the heart of OBOR, ushers in a new era of hope, and a break of a new dawn.

OBOR expands the China Dream to the people living along the Silk Roads and seeks their betterment and overall welfare, he added. He said OBOR is about shared prosperity, making peace and development on the basis of interactions among peoples. He said OBOR seeks to turn Silk Roads into new pathways to discover the humanity’s limitless potential for growth, and reconstruction.

He said President Xi Jinping’s crusade against corruption has inspired him personally and he has undertaken a similar fight against corruption under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with the result that transparency has become the hallmark of his government.

He said zero tolerance policy has been adopted against the corruption. He said Pak-China relations are spreading over six decades and today Pak-China ties are touching new heights due to CPEC project. He said we will remain eternally grateful to our close friend China and its leadership for this wonderful project.