Heydays for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are set to come back after the dramatic return of “Shahbaz Speed,” a famous title awarded by China a few years back to the then CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, who is now Prime Minister of Pakistan. “Shahbaz Speed” had once become a symbol of rapidness and fervency on the CPEC, which was acknowledged and revered by the Chinese government with pride. Given the position of the then CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif had smoothened the development works, completed projects even before the set deadlines, ushered in an era of prolific working relationships with Chinese companies, fixed bureaucratic glitches, rejuvenated the chain of command to pull away stumbling blocks and achieved many milestones on the progress of CPEC that are still remembered by Chinese officials. Recognising his meritorious performance on December 20, 2016, International Department of Central Committee of Communist Party of China Vice-Minister Zheng Xiaosong gave then Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif the title of “Shahbaz Speed.” Zheng said he and his delegation members were inspired by the unmatched pace of development in Punjab. “China is known throughout the world for completing development projects in short times but even by Chinese standard, the pace of work is exceptional.” Later on January 25, 2021, outgoing Chinese consul general Lahore Long Dingbin sent a letter to Shahbaz Sharif heaping praise on him as “Shahbaz Speed.” He lauded Shahbaz Sharif’s contributions as then Punjab’s chief minister for CPEC projects. In a letter addressed to the PML-N president, he termed the former Punjab CM an “old friend of China” and added that he was impressed by his devotion to the CPEC projects. “You have made the CPEC projects realised, which not only created impressive ‘Punjab Speed’ but embodied the profound bilateral friendship,” he wrote in a farewell letter. The consul general said the Pakistan Muslims League Nawaz will always remain a “great friend” of China whether “it’s in power or as an opposition party”. “I am sure, as a leader of the National Assembly you [Shahbaz] will continue to work as always to promote the friendship of our two parties, our two nations and our two people,” the Chinese official added. The Chinese consul general concluded his letter wishing Shahbaz good health and success. Many politicians termed the letter of the Chinese consul general to Shahbaz as a matter of pride for Pakistan. “A great friend like China is also testifying to Shahbaz Sharif’s transparency, honesty, integrity and hard work while he was a chief minister,” they added. Expressing emotional attachment with China and CPEC, in his first speech in the parliament after being chosen as the 23rd PM of Pakistan, he said categorically that “Shahbaz Speed” will become now “Pakistan Speed,” calling Pakistan-China relations exemplary and phenomenally unmatched. “Time-tested friendship with China has a long rich history and we will advance this bond to a new height,” he mentioned. China on Tuesday also felicitated Shahbaz Sharif on his election as the new prime minister of Pakistan. Taking to Twitter, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said, “China looks forward to working with Pakistan to build a high-quality China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.” He maintained that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic and comprehensive cooperation partners with rock-solid and unbreakable relations. Later, Pang Chunxue, the Charge d’ Affaires at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan, called on the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s House. Pang Chunxue congratulated the Prime Minister and conveyed good wishes of the Chinese government and leadership on the assumption of office. While Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on his part conveyed warm greetings as well as an appreciation for the Chinese leadership. He reminisced about his many visits to China. During those visits, he had also met with President Xi Jinping who took a personal stake in fostering ties with Pakistan. The Prime Minister of Pakistan appreciated the persistent progress of CPEC as the flagship project of President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative. Along these lines, he enunciated the importance of CPEC for the economic development and prosperity of Pakistan. He declared his government’s determination to speed up the development of CPEC projects. Likewise, he pledged to make it a symbol of China-Pakistan friendship and close collaboration. The Prime Minister emphasized the significance of enhanced investment from China in agriculture, industrialization, and digital technologies. In addition, the newly-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan also reaffirmed the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s policy and factor for regional peace and stability. China lives in the hearts of the Pakistani people. It is Pakistan’s closest partner and strongest friend. Lastly, the Prime Minister affirmed his government’s commitment to further advancing a win-win economic collaborative alliance between the two countries. Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif is also the President of the PML-N, the largest political party in Pakistan at the moment. He is also the longest-serving chief minister of the Punjab province, having served on the post three times since he began his political career nearly four decades ago. Sharif is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan. His foray into politics began in 1988 when he was elected as a member of the Punjab assembly (MPA). He served for a short stint, till 1990 when the assembly was dissolved. The same year, he contested and won a national assembly constituency and became a member of the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament. In 1993, he again returned to the Punjab assembly and was appointed leader of the opposition till 1996. Then in 1997, he won a Punjab constituency for the third time and went on to become the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s most politically important province. Returning in 2008 to politics, he was again elected as a member of the Punjab assembly and then became chief minister for a second term. This time he served his full term as chief minister. After the general polls in 2013, he returned as chief minister of his home province. While in the 2018 polls, he decided to retain his national assembly seat and was nominated as the leader of the Opposition. The writer is a senior Journalist. He is also President of Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR).