LONDON - Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Thursday said the economy of Pakistan was improving as exports and remittances were on the rise, imports were declining and stability was returning.

Speaking to media here Thursday, he said, “Due to effective policy of the government, exports are increasing and in substantive terms, the economy of Pakistan is improving.”

The vital indicators of the economy were getting stable, there was no urgency and the Finance Minister was putting all his energies to keep the economy moving, he explained.

He said volatility of the dollar was due to the fact that Ishaq Dar in the past spent $6-7 billion dollar to keep value of the dollar low. He said $11 billion from Pakistan went to 26 countries and a large part of it was funneled to the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The minister said Pakistan was strengthening its laws to check the illegal flow of money to foreign countries and in his talks with the British parliamentarians he stressed that the international cooperation should be expanded and laws should be made to stop investments made with illegal money.

He said the policy to promote export industry was being implemented and rule of law was being ensured as powerful and weak, all were equal before the law.

He said those, who were taking law into their hands, would be dealt with strictly, adding Ishaq Dar would be brought back to Pakistan.

Fawad said the government was in contact with all sides in the Middle East and if everybody agreed, Pakistan was ready to play its role in the peace process.

Meanwhile, Fawad called for collaboration between Pakistan and the United Kingdom to curb money laundering.

Pakistan and the United Kingdom enjoyed good relations and strengthening of anti-money laundering laws would benefit the two friendly countries, the Minister said this during a meeting with the British members of the Parliament here at Westminster Palace.

He briefed the British Parliamentarians about the steps taken by the PTI and its reforms agenda under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan for strengthening economy, promoting rule of law and good governance, besides the policies directed towards the people, especially the poor for bringing them out of poverty.

The Minister requested the British Parliamentarians to play their vital role in strengthening the anti-money laundering laws so that the public money from Pakistan should not be invested in the UK through money laundering.

Out of 26 countries, he said, share of money laundering from Pakistan to the UK and the UAE was the maximum. Therefore, anti-money laundering laws in the UK should be strengthened for the benefit of the two countries, he added.

"We are taking our own anti-money laundering laws in Pakistan," he stated.

As regards national economy, he said that due to the prudent economic policies initiated by the PTI government, it was on the path of improvement.

Exports were increasing while the government wanted to reduce imports to maintain fiscal balance and deficit.

He said that the government had given incentives to the exports sector so that the exports should be increased for the country's economic prosperity.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the government was also encouraging investors to invest in various economic sectors.

To facilitate the investors a separate unit had been established at the Prime Minister's Office, he said.

He said that due to the investment friendly policies of the government, investments in various sectors were coming in the country. Due to tariff rationalisation of gas in Punjab and other provinces, he added, more than 200 textile units in Punjab had been opened.

He said that total remittances of overseas Pakistanis were US$ 20 billion and the government wanted to increase it to US$ 35 billion.  To achieve the objective, the PTI government had launched a crackdown on Hundi and Hawala mode of money transfers. "We want to encourage our overseas Pakistanis to send their money through official or banking channels for the benefit of the country," he added.

Fawad said Pakistan wanted peaceful solution of the Kashmir problem with India and soon after coming into power Prime Minister Imran Khan extended dialogue offer to India to resolve the dispute peacefully.

He, however, regretted that India had always rejected peace offers by Pakistan for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute. He said for the first time PTI government, Army and the people of the country were on the same page and supporting the strategic initiatives taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Information Minister said that the PTI’s coming into power was a middle-class revolution against the status quo and corrupt system.

He said that the present government was bringing about a paradigm shift where the powerful people and political vigilantes like Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan were being brought under law.

"It is first time in Pakistan’s history that powerful classes are feeling the pressure of law. Because of the very close understanding of Pakistan’s civil and military institutions, the 70 years old paradigm has shifted."

He said that opening of Kartarpur Corridor was history in the making. "We will wait for outcome of Indian’s elections and we wait India to rethink its position on Kashmir. Kashmiris don’t want to live with India. Kashmir is not a territorial issue but humanitarian issue."

About the United States, he said it was a superpower and "we are fully aware of its importance." Prime Minister Imran Khan offered the best bet to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said. Since the new government had taken over, relations between Pakistan and the US were improving, he added. He said CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) remained the most important geo-economic project for Pakistan. Other countries, including the European Union states might like to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by CPEC, he added.

He said that "Since Prime Minister Imran Khan took over, our relations with Saudi Arabia and China are on new heights." He said that Imran Khan’s priority was to take people out of poverty and "our policies are directed towards that end." He added that Pakistan had always moved forward with positive initiatives, he said.

The best solution to resolve the Kashmir dispute was to sit on the negotiating table and resolve it peacefully, he added. It was now upto India which option it wanted to resolve the issue, he said.

He said that through peace initiatives Pakistan had gone extra miles to improve relationship with India. Replying to a question, he said that dual nationals were not allowed to contest elections in the country.

The PTI government, however, was keen to resolve the problems being faced by the overseas Pakistanis, including those of British Pakistanis, he added.

He said that it was the PTI government which had given right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

Fawad said that merit was the only criteria for appointments in the PTI government. He invited investors from the UK to invest in various sectors of Pakistan's economy, especially the projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The British Parliamentarians, including Lord Qurban Hussain, lauded the policies of PTI government for the country's development.

They also lauded Pakistan for opening up the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh Yatris.

They appreciated the PTI government for their decision to build dams to overcome future water crisis in the country.

Earlier, Fawad said resolution of Kashmir issue and peace in Afghanistan were vital for bringing peace and prosperity in the region. He stated this while addressing a big gathering of international policy experts, diplomats, people belonging to different walks of life of the British society and journalists.

The lecture on the topic "New Pakistan Challenges and Opportunities" was organised by International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) London (United Kingdom). Rahul Roy Chaudhry Senior Fellow for South Asia at IISS moderated the talk. He said that since 1980 "we have faced three catastrophic situations which brought conflict in the country. It was because of Pakistan’s resilience that it survived. No other country could have survived under such circumstances," he said.

Pakistan, he said that not only survived but it is most modern country in the third world and Muslim countries and has fully functional and robust institutions.