Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday underlined the government’s commitment to unlock the full economic and connectivity potential of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through expedited and high-quality development of CPEC projects. He emphasized the importance of key projects like Main Line One (ML-1) and Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) in Pakistan’s development plans and expressed desire to move towards finalization of these projects in the upcoming 11th meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee. The prime minister expressed these views as he received Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong here at the PM House, a press release issued here by the PM Media Office said. Expressing satisfaction on the upward trajectory of high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China, the prime minister recalled his comprehensive and wide-ranging discussions with Premier Li Keqiang in a telephone call on 16 May 2022, and their consensus to further deepen and strengthen Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership. He underscored that Pakistan and China were best friends, staunchest partners and Iron brothers, adding, the two nations had always stood by each other through fair weather and times of challenges, and extended support on key issues of core interest. The prime minister appreciated China’s support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and development, including in dealing with the emerging economic challenges and volatility in global supply chains and commodities. Sharing Pakistan’s focus on early development of CPEC Special Economic Zones (SEZs), he welcomed the increased investments of Chinese enterprises especially in the country’s industrial development. Referring to the increasing bilateral trade volumes and Pakistan’s record exports of US $ 3.6 billion in 2021, the prime minister emphasized that enhanced market access for Pakistani exports to China would help realize the full potential of Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement. The prime minister was accompanied by Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Minister of State Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and Special Assistants to PM Tariq Fatemi, Zafarullah Mahmood and Jehanzab Khan. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the government was prioritizing the provision of facilities for screening and treatment of patients, in order to make Pakistan a hepatitis-free country by 2030. The prime minister, in his message on the World Hepatitis Day annually observed on July 28, said in order to ensure the prevention of the disease, the government had decided to launch an awareness drive on preventive measures, besides providing treatment and vaccines to the people. He said being a killer disease, hepatitis annually killed around a million people across the world. One out of every 13 Pakistanis suffered from hepatitis and around 86 percent of them remained unaware of the disease, he added. The prime minister said nine million people suffering from hepatitis in Pakistan was no less than a threat that necessitated preventive measures and awareness campaigns to avert the spread from touching an alarming level. He said being a silent killer, the hepatitis gradually killed the patient within 15 to 20 years causing liver cirrhosis and cancer. Recalling his anti-hepatitis efforts during his stint as Punjab chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif said he had established Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute and Hepatitis Treatment Filter Clinics across the province for early diagnosis of the disease and save lives through liver transplantation of the patients going through last stage of the disease. The prime minister said after assuming the prime minister’s office, he had revived the PKLI, which had faced neglect of the precious government. The government also increased the quota of free treatment to achieve the dream of free-of-charge liver transplantation facility to the people coming from across the country. He also urged the people to take precautionary measures to prevent their dear ones from the disease through vaccination and regular screening tests. He also appealed to the media to play its role for mass awareness on prevention considering it a collective responsibility. The prime minister hoped that the country could overcome the disease by timely diagnosis and providing treatment facilities at the basic level. He also invited the international health organizations to join hands with Pakistan to eliminate the disease from the country and also paid tribute to the health workers striving to achieve the objective.