Pakistan will be partner in peace: PM

Published: January 22, 2020

DAVOS: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday Pakistan would not become part of any conflict in the future, rather it would be partner in peace, stressing that his government was trying to avert the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and also actively facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Addressing a session on ‘Pakistan Country Strategy Dialogue’ and a separate media briefing at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Imran called for the United Nations to help mediate between nuclear armed India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute.

He said that his first year in office remained focused on measures to stabilise economy, according to a Radio Pakistan report. He expressed the hope that the country would attract foreign investment in different sectors, including agriculture, minerals and information technology.

Addressing the Pakistan Country Strategy Dialogue, he recalled that both the Afghan jihad and the war against terrorism cost Pakistan heavily and “inflicted a lot of damage to our society”. The war on terror, he said, left our 70,000 dead but “we have now dismantled the terrorist groups”.

Imran said Pakistan played its part in trying to avert the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. “We are also … facilitating the Afghan peace process [and] there is a chance of ceasefire in Afghanistan, which will help us reach the Central Asian countries through the economic corridor,” he added.

Imran used the forum – a moderated session– attended by economists, businessmen and media persons from different countries, to highlight his vision for transforming Pakistan into an investment and tourism destination.

He told the audience that the government had set definite targets for economic growth through foreign investment and ease-of-doing business, adding that the government was consciously planning to promote growth of industries across the country.

The prime minister said that in his first year in office, he remained focused on measures for economic stability. He added that the corrective measures adopted by his government resulted in the surge in foreign investment by 200%.

“The first year of our government was about gaining economic stability and now we want the economy to grow and expand,” he said. “This year, we want to grow our economy to provide jobs to our youth. We are doing everything possible to attract investment and incentivise the industries.”

The whole idea “is to reverse anti-profit-making social mindset” by providing incentives to industries, Imran said, adding that Pakistan had now attained a place among the fastest growing economies in the Subcontinent.

Irman said tourism sector in Pakistan flourished the most after improved security situation. He added Pakistan was a cradle of world’s oldest civilisations, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Sufism, that gave it an edge of diversity in religious tourism.

He invited foreign investors to explore Pakistan’s rich potential in tourism, agriculture, and gold and copper mining. He said Pakistan was set to witness a revolution with the launch of ‘Digital Pakistan’ programme, aimed at digitisation of governance and other services.

Responding to a question, Imran said: “My contention is that it is corruption due to which countries become poor and not the lack of resources.” He added: “This is the first time that civil-military leadership is on one page.”

International Media Council session

Speaking during a session of International Media Council on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Imran described the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir a “potential flashpoint” and called for the United Nations to help mediate between nuclear armed India and Pakistan over the dispute.

India revoked the constitutional autonomy of Occupied Kashmir in August and imposed a brutal clampdown on the region. “This is a potential flashpoint,” Imran said, adding that it was time for the “international institutions … specifically set up to stop this” to “come into action”.

He warned once again that India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was treading a dangerous path under the influence of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) supremacist ideology, which had direct inspiration from the German Nazis.

He expressed concerns that the India, a nuclear armed country, was “relentlessly” implementing the Hindutva ideology of Hindu superiority over other communities, especially the Muslims and the Christians.

“Under the influence of German Nazis’ mind-set, the Indian government is moving on a path littered with disastrous consequences for the entire region,” he told the participants. “India is moving on a path of disaster.”

Imran warned that what was happening in India would be a disaster for the people of its own country and those of Occupied Kashmir. He added he had talked to US President Donald Trump on the issue and urged the UN and the US to act over the worsening situation in occupied Kashmir.

Imran stressed that the use of military was no solution to any conflict because it could have unintended consequences. The two nuclear-armed countries could not even contemplate a war. The only way forward was to mend ties and resolve the disputes through dialogue, he said.

The prime minister said his biggest fear was how New Delhi would respond to ongoing protests in India over a citizenship law that many feel targets Muslims. “We’re not close to a conflict right now … What if the protests get worse in India, and to distract attention from that, what if …”

He told the audience that he had discussed the prospect of war between Pakistan and India in a Tuesday meeting with the US president and Trump later said he had offered to help mediate between the two countries.

Imran also said that Pakistan and the US were closer in their approach to the Afghan Taliban than they had been for many years. In a separate on-stage conversation, Imran said he had told Trump that a war with Iran would be “a disaster for the world”. Trump had not responded, he said.

IMF, ADB chiefs call on PM

The prime minister arrived in Davos on Tuesday to attend the annual meeting of World Economic Forum and also held sideline meetings with President Trump, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien, Chairman Calik Holding Ahmet Calik and CEO SAP software company Christian Klein.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister of Jordan Omar Razzaz, International Monetary Fund (IMF) President Kristalina Georgieva, President of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Masatsugu Asakawa, Chairman of Board of Marubeni Corporation, Japan, Fumiya Kokubu, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) Seth Berkley called on Prime Minister Imran.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant to PM Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Ambassador at Large on Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Raza Baqir were also present during these meetings.

Also Prime Minister Imran held an informal meeting with Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump. Pictures from their meeting surfaced on social media in which Imran and Ivanka were seen exchanging pleasantries. This is the first time that Imran met President Trump’s daughter.

(With input from Agencies and News Desk)

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