KARACHI - Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Friday said that the government was ensuring the implementation of its institutional reform agenda besides taking practical steps for documentation of the economy.
In a meeting with members of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and heads of leading companies of Pakistan, he said that the facilitation of the business community and investors was among the priorities of the government.
The prime minister also highlighted the establishment of the recently established Special Investment Facilitation Council, its positive initiatives to attract foreign investment, and the encouraging results.
In the meeting, the CEO Pakistan Stock Exchange thanked the prime minister for his visit and gave a detailed briefing regarding the stock exchange.
The prime minister was informed that in the last few months, due to the business-friendly policies of the government, the confidence of the investors and the business community had increased which also led to a boom in the business as well as the stock exchange. The participants of the meeting also appreciated the government’s seriousness and institutional reforms. Prime Minister Kakar commended the services of Pakistan’s business community and investors for the country.
The meeting was attended by Caretaker Federal Minister of Finance and Chairperson of Pakistan Stock Exchange Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Stock Exchange Farrukh Khan, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Akif Saeed and heads of other leading companies of Pakistan.
Anwaarul Haq Kakar also said that the investors had regained confidence after the successful signing of a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the execution of the annual budget 2023-24 and improvement in the fiscal and external accounts.
The prime minister, addressing the ceremony marking the first auction of the Government Ijarah Sukook bonds issued by the Pakistan Stock Exchange, said it was the collective responsibility of the stock brokers, SECP, and other participants to promote upcoming primary market auctions to market it a remarkable achievement for the entire market ecosystem. He congratulated all the stakeholders on the auction of the Government Ijarah Sukook through PSX, instead of the State Bank of Pakistan, which was aimed at simplifying the participation in government securities auction, diversifying the investors’ base, and enhancing transparency.
He lauded the market participant for their interest in the auction through PSX particularly the participation of the retail market. He told the gathering that the stock exchange was a dynamic force and a heartbeat that resonated with the aspirations of business and progress.
The prime minister, who later rang the gong of the stock exchange said it did not only herald the market transactions but also a symphony of progress and prosperity.
“The gong’s echoes reverberate not only within these walls but across the financial corridors of the nation, symbolizing our commitment to fostering an inclusive and robust financial ecosystem that welcomes diverse voices and promotes economic prosperity shared by all,” he remarked.
He said initially, Pakistan’s economy faced multiple challenges at the start of 2023-2024, but the government addressed structural and macroeconomic issues to rectify the situation.
He said the collective efforts of all stakeholders had successfully brought the economy back on track, leading to a lower dollar rate from 307 on September 5 in the interbank to 284 today which also resulted in a decline in inflation. Prime Minister Kakar said the bullish sentiment in the stock exchange was made possible by an improved economy, the participation of foreign investors, a high yield, and a stable exchange rate.
He said the capital market provided fuel for businesses to expand, create jobs, and contribute to the overall development of society. He reiterated the government’s commitment to fostering an environment that nurtured the resilience of the capital market, recognizing its critical role as a stabilizing force that absorbed shocks and steered the economy toward stability.
The prime minister called for efforts to build a capital market that not only mirrored economic strength but also embodied values of fairness and integrity. In her address, Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar welcomed the prime minister to launch Government Sukook Auction through PSX.
‘EQUAL RIGHTS FOR MINORITIES’
Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar reaffirmed the equal rights for minority communities and called for enforcing meritocracy and social opportunities for their uplift and mainstreaming. The prime minister, in an interactive session with the students of Aga Khan University, said the minorities were equal Pakistanis as Madina State had also guaranteed equal responsibilities and rights for the citizens. Calling for infusing a sense of confidence in the people, he said that meritocracy should be enforced, and social opportunities for minorities should be created.
To a question, he said that the people of Pakistan enjoyed freedom of expression and considering the country’s political history, any particular incident could not be associated with the government of that particular term. He said that the incidents involving the violations of freedom of speech were not limited to a particular government. The prime minister, responding to a query by a university student about the arrest of journalists, said that during the tenure, he was referring to, the journalists were shot at and faced many such acts which were against the freedom of expression.
“You have a freedom of expression and speech. You spoke your heart before the prime minister. After this, your allegation of no freedom of speech would carry lesser weight,” he remarked.
About the rights and status of Gilgit Baltistan, he said GB was and would remain part of Pakistan. He said the matter of rights should be tackled peacefully without any resentment.
“The political procedure should move forward. The GB should be our Singapore. Our identities are associated with each other,” he remarked.
To a question, the prime minister said after the 18th amendment, health was a devolved subject with the provinces having all the funding to spend on the sector.