As the opposition teamed up to topple the incumbent government, Prime Minister Imran Khan met with the top leadership of his main ally, the Pakistan Muslim-Quaid (PML-Q), here on Tuesday, which assured him of their full support if the opposition moved a no-confidence motion.
Premier Imran, along with federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry, Khusro Bukhtiar, Shafqat Mahmood, Hammad Azhar, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and other senior leaders of the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI), paid a short visit to the Chaudhry brothers’ residence in Lahore.
Both sides discussed the prevailing political situation in the country and exchanged views on matters of mutual interest. During the half-an-hour-long meeting, Imran also enquired after the health of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and prayed for his full recovery at the earliest.
From the PML-Q side, the meeting was attended by the former prime minister Shujaat and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi besides members of the National Assembly Salik Hussain and Shafay Hussain.
According to a statement issued by the PML-Q, the Chaudhry brothers informed the prime minister about their recent meeting with National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif. On the no-confidence motion plans, the PML-Q leaders said the move had no chance of success. The statement said that they informed Shehbaz that if the opposition’s attempt to remove Prime Minister Imran from power failed then their political future would be bleak, adding that “what is the use of such a trick which has no chance of success”.
The PML-Q leadership assured Prime Minister Imran that the opposition’s no-confidence motion plans were nothing more than a “myth”. The Chaudhry brothers appreciated prime minister’s announcement of reduction in fuel prices as well as the power tariff and praised him for his visit of Russia. Shujaat advised the prime minister to put his ministers on duty to keep an eye on prices in the bazaars also, so that the benefit of relief measures reached the people.
Elahi said that announcement of the package for the industries was also a very good initiative, adding that similar announcement should also be made for the industrial estates in Punjab. Imran appreciated the idea, saying that Punjab industries would also be included in this package soon. Earlier, during a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, the prime minister directed him to take effective measures and ensure provision of maximum relief to common man. He instructed Buzdar to protect the rights, lives and property of people and take stern action against encroachers, hoarders and miscreant elements in society.
Imran also met with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar at the Governor House. During the meeting, Sarwar apprised the prime minister of his meeting with the European delegation related to the extension of the GSP+ status. Matters related to current political situation and governmental affairs also came under discussion.
On this occasion, Imran said that it was a priority of the government to ensure the development and prosperity of the country and the people. “We will provide more relief to the public in the coming days. For the development and prosperity of the people, we are taking unprecedented measures. We will strengthen the institutions because their development will strengthen the country,” he added.
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Prime Minister Imran arrived in Lahore on Tuesday morning on a day-long visit. During the visit, he also unveiled an incentives package for the promotion of industrial sector with focus on attracting investment from the local and expatriate business community and strengthening the country’s export-oriented industrial and manufacturing base.
“Along with local businessmen, we are also inviting the overseas Pakistani entrepreneurs to invest in the country’s industrial sector,” Imran told a ceremony, which was attended by a large number of businessmen and representatives of the chambers of commerce and industry. “Besides the expatriates, the local businessmen in the joint venture will also enjoy a five-year tax holiday without questions.”
The prime minister said that the government was doing all it could for the promotion of export-oriented industries and to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) besides the revival of sick industrial units. He said that there was a need to attract the nine million overseas Pakistanis – a precious asset for the country – to invest in their homeland by incentivising them and giving them confidence about the protection of their hard-earned capital.
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The prime minister added that the present government’s two-pronged industrial policy focused on the promotion of SMEs through improved regulations and ease-of-doing business; and the revival of sick industrial units.
He pointed to a slow growth of information technology (IT) sector over the last many years due to lack of policies, saying that the present government was incentivising the IT sector, which had a lot of potential to take the country forward in terms of exports.
“Since Pakistan stands second in the world in terms of young population, it is important to promote the IT sector. For the first time, the present government has come up with an IT policy,” he said. “We are trying to get the country stand on its own feet.” Later, the prime minister dilated on the salient features of the incentives package for the promotion of the industry. The package envisaged investment in new industrial units and expansion and modernisation of existing units.
The salient features are: 5% across-the-board payment of tax for all amounts invested; minimum investment threshold of Rs50 million; industrial unit to be set-up as a company; commercial production to begin by June 30, 2024; previous beneficiaries of amnesty schemes of 2018 and 2019 not eligible; and bank loan defaulters in last three years not eligible.
The incentives for revival of sick units are: applicable only to companies; industrial units having accumulated losses in continuous three years to be treated as sick units; acquiring company allowed to adjust losses of the sick units against its income for three years; and revival of the sick unit to be completed within three years of acquisition.
The incentives for foreign investment in industrial sector are: Pakistani citizens, who are non-resident for five years and resident Pakistanis having declared foreign assets, are eligible to invest; one-time tax credit equal to 100% of Pakistani rupee equivalent of remittance to be availed in five years; investment to be made in a new industrial unit; commercial production to start by June 30, 2024; and new industrial unit to be a company.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
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