PM calls for propagating hope among inflation-hit people

ISLAMABAD  -  Caretaker Prime Minis­ter Anwaarul Haq Ka­kar Friday said that an estimated foreign in­vestment of US$60 to $70 billion was expect­ed in the next three to five years under the government’s new ini­tiative of Special Invest­ment Facilitation Coun­cil (SIFC).

Besides, he said the government had also received pledges and promises of another similar amount of in­vestment. “Now, we have to design and submit our projects as there is a huge ap­petite to invest in the country”, he said while talking to senior jour­nalists and news an­chors here. 

Replying to a ques­tion, the prime min­ister said the govern­ment was considering various options to pro­vide relief to the people.

Citing the example of the $700 billion worth of Reko Diq gold and copper reserves, the prime minister said the country had huge potential of natural re­sources that would change fate of the people of Pakistan.

“We took the initiative of SIFC to realise this potential and we are going towards the right di­rection so far as the scientific methods and financial models are concerned,” he remarked. He said the SIFC was the whole of the government project and there was no hidden in it.

“This is a transparent inter­vention that has already been initiated and has the overall po­tential of $5 to $6 trillion.” The prime minister highlighted that Pakistan had huge land that could be used for agriculture purpose and could serve half of the Asian population’s food re­quirements. He added that the country had also enough wa­ter to irrigate the barren land across the country. 

Likewise, he said IT, tourism and defence production had also huge potential that would be tapped for socio-economic development of the country. 

PM Kakar maintained that al­though the core responsibili­ty of the caretaker government was to facilitate elections across the country, in the meantime it would also try to improve the taxation mechanism and address other economic challenges. 

Replying to another query, the prime minister said eco­nomic migration was not a new phenomenon and people were leaving the country for a bet­ter future and they would also contribute to Pakistan’s econo­my in future. Therefore, he said, it should not be considered a brain drain.

Advising the media to prop­agate hope among the masses, he said there was no chance of a sudden collapse of the country’s social structure and all profes­sionals, doctors, nurses, and the society overall were functioning at an absolutely normal pace.

He said the government mi­nutely looked into the problem of inflated electricity bills and would come up with a solution within next 48 hours.

To a question, he clarified that the Pakistan army, navy and air force were not using a single free unit of electricity and their bills were paid from the allocat­ed financial budget.

While employees of WAPDA were using free electricity units and their usage would be ratio­nalized, especially of the high­er grade officers some of them were getting huge quantity of free electricity, he added.

He said perception should not be that the government would take any strict measures caus­ing difficulties for the people.

He pointed out that the pow­er sector had been a very chal­lenging issue since the 1990s and the governments of that time signed agreements with in­dependent power producers to overcome loadshedding which proved costly for consumers.

Over the years, he said, the generation and transmission system of electricity was flawed and the government had to deal with serious issues of line loss­es, power theft, high circular debt, use of expensive import­ed fuel and capacity payments to electricity companies.

“These issues cannot be ig­nored by just closing eyes. We need to diagnose treatment for the disease,” he added. He made it clear that the government would fulfill its agreements with the international financial institutions.

‘Smuggling of sugar, petro­leum products, urea’

Caretaker Prime Minister An­waarul Haq Kakar has strictly instructed the Customs author­ities and law enforcement agen­cies to curb smuggling of sugar, petroleum products, urea, agri produce and other goods from the country. He was chairing a high-level meeting in Islamabad on Friday regarding smuggling control in border areas.

The prime minister was briefed about measures taken to control smuggling of various goods in the country, especial­ly along the border areas. The meeting was informed that ten additional check-posts of law enforcement agencies have been notified to check smuggling in Balochistan. On the occasion, the Prime Minister sought an intra-agency report of govern­ment officers involved in smug­gling in Balochistan. He said the officers involved in smuggling should be given exemplary pun­ishment in addition to effective disciplinary action against them.

The Prime Minister was also told that forty percent decrease in smuggling has been wit­nessed due to tireless efforts of the law enforcement agencies.

Anwaarul Haq Kakar said smuggling of petroleum prod­ucts leads to reduction in reve­nue collection, along with bur­dening the foreign exchange reserves of the country. He said he will personally review the weekly meeting of different agencies’ performance in curb­ing the menace of smuggling.

The Prime Minister instructed to make markets along Pak-Iran border more operational for en­suring documentation of the trade. He said curbing smug­gling from the country has be­come inevitable as it inflicts a loss of billions of rupees on the overall economy.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, the caretaker Prime Minister said smuggling is a major cause of country’s economic challenges.

The Prime Minister said sev­eral other issues including tax evasion and hike in dollar price are also associated with smug­gling. Also, Prime Minister An­waar-ul-Haq Kakar has stressed the need to enhance coopera­tion between Pakistan and the United Kingdom in trade and in­vestment, climate change and education. He said this while talking to British High Commis­sioner Ms. Jane Marriott, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday. The Prime Minister em­phasized that Pakistan and the UK have longstanding rela­tions and said that his govern­ment would continue to further strengthen these bilateral ties. He conveyed his good wish­es to King Charles III as well as to the UK leadership. The High Commissioner conveyed felic­itations to the Prime Minister on behalf of the UK leadership and said that her country would continue to extend all possible support to Pakistan during this phase of democratic transition.

Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has reaffirmed Pa­kistan’s strong commitment to further strengthen and deepen ties with Iran. He was talking to Iranian Ambassador Reza Amiri Moghaddam, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday.

The Prime Minister under­scored the close fraternal rela­tions between the two neigh­bouring countries.

He also stressed the need to focus on enhancing coopera­tion in the economic and secu­rity domains.

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar high­lighted that the recent inaugu­ration of Mand-Pishin border marketplace would not only contribute to the economic up­lift of the border areas but also serve as manifestation of the collective commitment to work for the betterment of the two peoples. He stressed the im­portance for both countries to leverage their unique geograph­ical location to promote shared objectives of regional peace and prosperity through great­er trade and enhanced regional connectivity.

On the occasion, the Iranian Ambassador said Tehran is keen to build on the recent positive trajectory of the bilateral rela­tionship, especially in areas of economy, energy and security.

The European Union has ex­pressed the commitment to continue supporting Pakistan and work to enhance coopera­tion in areas of mutual interest.

This resolve was expressed by EU Ambassador Riina Kionka, while talking to Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar in Islam­abad on Friday.

The Prime Minister, on the oc­casion, expressed satisfaction over the positive trajectory of Pakistan-EU ties and lauded re­cent progress made in this re­gard. He emphasized the sig­nificant role of the GSP Plus scheme in boosting Pakistan’s exports to European markets. He stressed the need to contin­ue the GSP Plus scheme which serves the interests of both Pa­kistan and the EU.

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said his Government is committed to safeguarding and uphold­ing the rights of all its citizens. He said the Government would provide constitutional conti­nuity till the next general elec­tions are held in the country. PM Kakar’s visit to Kenya from 4th September was cancelled due to evolving political situa­tion in the country. Earlier For­eign Office spokesperson Mum­taz Zahra Baloch announced on Friday that Prime Minister Ka­kar would be undertaking three days visit to Kenya to attend UN climate conference. 

However, official sources con­firmed that this visit was can­celled due to preparations for general elections in the coun­try. Next week is going to be extraordinarily important as many important political de­velopments are expected to take place that is why PM Ka­kar decided to postpone his vis­it. However PM Kakar visit to UNGA new York is confirmed.

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