Bad for business?: K-P loses out on foreign investment as CM declines visit to China

Published: September 5, 2014
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K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. PHOTO: APP

K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. PHOTO: APP

PESHAWAR: 

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s struggling economy took a hit last week when none other than the province’s chief executive reportedly bowed out of a visit to China, arranged by the Chinese government to discuss investment in various sectors across all provinces.

A senior official of the CM’s Secretariat told The Express Tribune the federal government contacted Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on August 29 to get a confirmation from him regarding the visit.

The CM declined to be part of the delegation, citing a personal matter.

A few weeks ago the Chinese government had decided to invite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the CMs of K-P, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab to visit the country and discuss investment opportunities.

While the chief executives of the other provinces accepted the invitation and went on to sign various memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Chinese investors, the CM of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa stayed behind, missing out on important economic opportunities for his province.

Missing out

The CM’s Secretariat official said Khattak declined the invitation not because of a personal matter but to be a part of the protest, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been holding in Islamabad for over two weeks now.

In the visit, Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah signed three MoU’s with Chinese transport companies. One of the memorandums was about establishing a mass transit train project in the mega city of Karachi, while two others were about transport projects in Sindh.

Moreover, an agreement was signed between Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and the Chinese government to train doctors and paramedical staff in Beijing. Under the three-year initiative, China will bear the expenses of travel, accommodation, food and other facilities availed by Pakistani medical staff being trained in China.

Opportunity lost

As the two CMs garnered praise from political parties and businessmen for the development projects, K-P CM Khattak came under criticism for letting go of the opportunity.

“The chief minister is duty-bound to protect the deteriorating financial system of the province,” said K-P Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KPCCI) President Zahidullah Shinwari.

Foreign investment in hydropower, tourism, oil and gas as well as mineral sectors can earn millions in revenue for the province, but the government’s non-serious attitude is keeping investors out, said Shinwari.

The government is busy with irrelevant priorities and has failed to attract foreign investment, he added.

Shinwari claimed PTI General Secretary Jahangir Tareen and stalwart Asad Umar intervene in provincial economic matters and advise on economic policies.

Awami National Party (ANP) parliamentary leader in the K-P Assembly Sardar Hussain Babak also criticised the PTI-led provincial government for being involved in a tussle with the central government and ignoring the province.

“For the past 10 years, K-P has been facing increasing militancy and financial problems,” said Babak. “Ignoring an opportunity to secure foreign investment is an injustice to the people who gave their mandate to the PTI.”

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) MPA Maulana Mufti Fazal Ghafoor said because of PTI’s internal issues, the matters of the province were being ignored.

Taking a stand

“How can the CM go for [an international] visit with a government which they are agitating against?” questioned K-P Minister for Information and Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani. “I think if CM Khattak had gone to China with the federal government, it would give a bad impression as the PTI is unhappy with the Centre.”

The Centre wanted to take the K-P CM to keep him busy there but, Ghani argued, it’s not a matter of concern if the K-P government missed out on the trip.

Ghani said he did not know what the CM’s personal reason might have been but it was not in the PTI’s favour for the CM to go to China.

“We will welcome China each time and respect them and will keep relations with them but at the moment it’s an internal issue with the central government,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • pakistani
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:14AM

    Speakes volumes about the twisted and sicked mindedness of PTI………..they can prefer politics and rehtoric on everything……including development, international relations and welfare of the country.

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  • Fawad
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:14AM

    He can go to China after these protests end. We are living in an age of communication, you dont have to be physically present somewhere to attract investment.

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  • Sane Voice
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:16AM

    He declined on personal reasons…………really?????????? saw him swaying on the container, while people were effected with rains in his province. Matter of priorities, I think.

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  • Ashfaq1
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:18AM

    Doesn’t look like he’s really bothered by KPK economy. Corruption is rife in the province and no real job creation reforms or initiatives in sight. Then they have the audacity to point finger at others.

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  • Ravian
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:23AM

    Sir, you could have sent a representative of KP Government from your coalition partners such as JI.

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  • Maryam
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:44AM

    why ‘partism’ takes precedence over patriotism in Pakistan?

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  • Zubair
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:50AM

    No need to visit because the share of KP has been already been shifted to Punjab before this visit. PMLN is bent upon promoting provincial hatred.

    Altered trade route strikes provincialism chord
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/720692/altered-trade-route-strikes-provincialism-chord/

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  • JEJ
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:56AM

    Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s struggling economy? I thought Imran Khan and his PTI had performed miracles there in 90 days?

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  • Anon
    Sep 5, 2014 - 11:07AM

    Chinese Investment in transport? Like the rail engines we got last time? Not really all its cracked up to be is it…

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  • Aftab
    Sep 5, 2014 - 11:27AM

    A matter of shame, an indication that PTI self interest is superior than the interest of the KPK Province.

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  • Shahid
    Sep 5, 2014 - 11:33AM

    Shame on PTI and Pervaiz Khattak. Now every one in Pakistan knows on whose agenda they are working on

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  • Anjum Arshi
    Sep 5, 2014 - 12:19PM

    Alas! We have a CM and we have his very powerful backers, both Pakistanis, who have no concern about the welfare of Pakistanis. All they are concerned about is power for themselves. The Backers want to control foreign policy. And to achieve that power, they will sacrifice everything that belongs to the nation. “Kia Bataoon Rahzan ka Mein Patta Nishan Yaro – Meere Caravan Yaro, Meere Caravan Yaro.

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  • oBSERVER
    Sep 5, 2014 - 12:20PM

    Khattak did the right thing any Pakistani with self esteem would do.MOUs mean nothing beyond a piece of paper.Nawaz Sharif tenures are notorious for signing such papers.

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  • mazhar
    Sep 5, 2014 - 2:05PM

    foreign investment word is nowadays being used by the corrupt parliamentarians and is used in the title as well is very misleading. Google it .

    This is not foreign investment. it is simple business and big names in Pakistan benefit from that. Till Pakistan completely eradicate corruption everything in Pakistan will be same with foreign investment or no foreign investment.

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  • Also Anon
    Sep 5, 2014 - 3:00PM

    @Anon:
    Dear Sir, I have been with the Pakistan Railways for 25 years. The Chinese equipment was not faulty and ran well for the 3 years they maintained it under warranty. We do not have the money for the spares required.
    The other engines we do maintain their agents/suppliers have good ‘understanding’ with our staff and we can get their spares.
    No Khancha means no spares unfortunately

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  • roarwali
    Sep 5, 2014 - 3:19PM

    It’s not investment opportunities but signing deal with chinese companies to come and work in our country. If you invest your money, for any project anyone will come

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  • Sep 5, 2014 - 7:23PM

    @Fawad:
    Then why these fellows gather unemployed people to protest at Parliament house, it could have also been done by using same communication channels.

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  • chai
    Sep 5, 2014 - 10:33PM

    @Fawad:
    Yes you do need to physically present. People pull money out of their pockets only when they see you, analyse your intent.

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  • Raza Ali
    Nov 8, 2014 - 11:49PM

    For the last decade or so Chinese companies are on top in corruption, Take Dongfeng, the black list company keep selling out-dated and faulty engines to Pakistan, then there’s Nandi pur power project with Rs. 80/unit electricity, coal projects which will produce electricity at Rs. 40/unit. China recently has dented the economy of Pakistan rather than helping to alleviate it. Tell the PM to bring his own money in Pakistan first.

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