ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, would make the country stable, both economically and politically.
Addressing a function at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce (ICCI), the minister said that the people of Pakistan had found a political destination and with the grace of God, it would attain progress under the leadership of PM Khan.
He said that the major challenge being faced by the PTI dispensation was that of the economy, not politics. Both Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari had contested their last elections and their days in politics were over, he added.
He said that the PTI government inherited a Pakistan, which was at the risk of default (in meeting international payments), facing a fiscal deficit and high inflation with the dollar at Rs 128. However, with the cooperation of friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it had overcome that situation.
PTI’s economic team was striving to revive the economy by reducing imports and increasing exports and foreign remittances from $20 billion $30 billion per year, he added.
Fawad said that this year the number of tax return filers had registered 30 per cent increase, which was a good omen as the economy could not be stabilised without raising the number of taxpayers.
He said that corruption and money laundering were interlinked as the looted money from the national exchequer used to be sent abroad through money laundering.
The minister said that Pakistan’s image in the world had improved as a result of the government’s steps in foreign policy and economic sector. The relations with the United States were improving, he said referring to United States’ appreciation for Pakistan for facilitating in negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.
The British Airways, he said, was going to resume its operations in Pakistan. The British Airways’ decision was a very good step which showed that Pakistan’s image at the international level had improved, he added.
He said that the opening of Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims would also bring economic benefits through religious tourism.
Fawad said that the past rulers used to purchase properties abroad while the international community today had trust in Pakistan with the PTI government at the helm of affairs. Along with large-scale businesses, small and medium-size ones would have to be developed, he added.
The PTI government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to make agriculture main focus of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he added.
The minister said that in the past, the government spent $7 billion to stabilise the rupee artificially, which left a negative impact on the economy. The present government would take measures to stabilise the rupee through market forces, he added.
Replying to questions of the ICCI office-bearers, he said that justice would prevail as former finance minister Ishaq Dar would be extradited to Pakistan and the looted national wealth would also be recovered.
He said that in the 1960s, Pakistan’s film industry used to be the third largest in the world, but later its decline started and at one point not a single film was made. The PTI government was encouraging construction of new cinema halls in the country as at present only 187 cinema screens were operational while over 1,000 were needed to make the local film industry financially viable, he added. Fawad said that it was an encouraging sign that the films released during the current year did good business. He said that the local drama industry was also being affected by the import of teleplays. He would ask the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to regulate drama import business to save the local entertainment industry, he added.