ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that since the socio-economic development and needs of lower and middle classes were totally neglected in the past, the economic progress of downtrodden and middle income classes was the central point of PTI government’s economic policies.

The Prime Minister expressed these views while chairing a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council here at the PM office.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Dr Ishrat Hussain, State Bank Governor, Secretary Finance Dr Farrukh Iqbal, Dr Ashfaq Hassan Khan, Dr Ejaz Nabi, Dr Abid Qayyum Sulehri, Dr Asad Zaman, Dr Naveed Hamid, Dr Saleem Raza and Saqib Shirani.

The Prime Minister thanked the renowned experts for their participation in the Economic Advisory Council and said that their experiences and recommendations would help check the country’s economic problems, besides the implementation of the government’s reforms agenda and new approach.

Giving the example of “Riasat-e-Madina”, he said that it was for the first in human history when the state took over the responsibility of lower and downtrodden classes and that historic step not only helped the deprived and poor to stand on their feet, but they also emerged as a great power in the world.

The Prime Minister said that the country could progress only if the focus of the government policies would be to uplift the lower classes and provide them equal opportunities of development.

He said that the dream of progress of country and nation could not be realised until every individual of society had a stake in the economic system and development process.

Participants of the meeting gave various suggestions to address the economic challenges faced by the country.

PM forms task forces

Prime Minister Imran Khan gave approval to constitution of bodies to remove hiccups in early merger of erstwhile federally and provincially administered tribal areas, Fata and Pata, with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as to revamp and reform civil services, restructure the government and to introduce austerity at all levels.

Meanwhile, the PM also chaired a briefing on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the projects initiated under the initiative in various sectors.

The aim behind formation of a task force on Fata and Pata merger in KP was made to identify and remove impediments in the way of fast merger of the former Tribal Areas in the province, so that the people of these areas could avail the facilities and benefits prevalent in rest of the country.

The task force on Fata and Pata merger in KP comprises Adviser to the PM on Establishment (convener), Governor, CM and Chief Secretary KP, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Senator Hidayatullah Khan, Federal Secretary SAFRON (Secretary), Additional Chief Secretary Fata, representative of MO Directorate, GHQ, representative of 11 Corps, Peshawar and Habibullah Khan.

Reformation of civil services of the country was one of the key issues on agenda list of PTI, and Imran Khan himself was keen to see structural changes in the civil services of Pakistan.

The task force on civil services reforms comprises Dr Ishrat Hussain, Adviser to Prime Minister on institutional reforms and austerity, Shahid Kardar, VC Beacon House, National University, Dr Sania Nishtar, Suleiman Ghani, former Federal Secretary, Dr Nadeem-ul-Haq, former Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Salman Raja, lawyer, Ali Cheema and Umair Javed from LUMS, Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi, former Federal Secretary, Naheed Durrani, MD Sindh Education Foundation, Secretary Cabinet, Planning, Finance and Establishment or their nominees, Chief Secretary or Additional Chief Secretary of each province, and Secretary of the task force to be appointed by the Secretary Establishment.

The task force on austerity and restructuring of government consist of Dr Ishrat Hussain, Salman Siddiq, former Finance Secretary, Wajid Rana, former Finance Secretary, Ijaz Nabi, Country Director IGC, Roshaneh Zafar, MD Kashf Foundation, Tariq Khosa, former Federal Secretary, Burhan Rasool, GM Punjab IT Board, Abdullah Yousaf, former Chairman FBR, Rana Ahmad, member FBR, Asad Ali Shah, former Managing Partner Ernst & Young, Taslim Aslam, former Foreign Secretary, Secretary Finance and Establishment or their nominees, as well as Chief Secretary or Additional Chief Secretary of each province, and Secretary of the task force to be appointed by the secretary Establishment.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan also chaired a briefing on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Prime Minister’s Office.

Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary Power Irfan Ali, Chairman NHA Jawwad Rafique Malik and other senior officers were present during the meeting.

Imran Khan was briefed in detail about various projects under the umbrella of CPEC in various sectors including energy, infrastructure development, road and rail network, establishment of special economic zones and development of Gwadar.