LONDON - Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Friday said Pakistan would receive investment of billions of dollars as different countries and major companies had decided to set up oil refineries and expand their business operations in the country.

Talking to mediamen here, he said the government’s economic chart was very clear and companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola had decided to expand their operations in Pakistan with an investment of $1.6 billion, similarly the American company Exxon Mobil had shown interest to invest billions of dollars for oil exploration.

He said Saudi Arabia would set up an oil refinery with investment of $5 billion and UAE would come up with a big investment for an oil refinery besides major investments in CPEC. “We want the British companies to invest in Pakistan. About 120 British companies were already operating in Pakistan. There is a need to bring further investments and ultimately as was stated by the Prime Minister, Pakistanis would not need to go abroad for jobs. They will go for tourism purposes but it is our ultimate dream that they don’t have to go outside for jobs. The future of Pakistan is very magnificent.”

He said Pakistan was stopping money laundering and increasing remittances through legal channels. If Pakistan could increase its remittances to $30 to $35 billion by making it easy for Pakistani workers abroad to send money, then it would bring advantage for economy, he said.

The minister said even people from abroad were sending messages that they wanted to send money for the dam fund and they ask how they could send money as the mechanism of State Bank to transfer funds had remained difficult. “We are making the process easy,” he remarked. He said 200 textile units in Punjab were being revived and thousands of jobs would be created.

To a question, he said nobody could dare to use violent language in Britain where freedom of expression was beyond doubt. The state could not function if the judges were threatened, he said adding the society could not function, if a group tried to impose its will on others with threat of force. “The society can only function when the constitution and law is followed. PTI has taken action against individuals and big violent groups threatening top government functionaries and citizens.”

To a question, he said it was a problem if somebody increased its assets hundreds of percent after staying in government for 10 years.

The minister said media’s payments amounting to Rs 1.3 billion were due and the federal and Punjab governments released Rs 260 million and Rs 220 million to media respectively. “We released almost 50 percent of the dues but the media workers are still losing jobs. In the past far bigger payments were made to media owners but conditions of the media workers did not change.”

The minister said, “We are concerned about the difficulties being faced by low level media workers in keeping their jobs.”

Fawad said when attention was drawn to this issue, then powerful people turn against you and they complain against the Information Minister and say the media was being damaged.

“Tell me when a country is drowned in loans of Rs 30000 billion, how we can say that all media institutions will be run by the government. Tomorrow a shop owner and industry owner will also say that the government should pay for his loss.”

Media should study its business model, he said adding he was trying that media get opportunities at international level.

He said that big studios were being made in UK and there was a shortage of makeup artists, technicians and carpenters.

Responding to another question, Fawad said the provinces did not have the capacity to run the universities which were not up to international standards and were now getting out of the list of top 500 universities of the world after the 18th constitutional amendment.

He said problems were also faced on standardization of drugs in provinces.

Earlier, Fawad reiterated his government’s commitment to uproot corruption and regulate the remittances for curbing money laundering.

He stated this while delivering lecture at the Oxford University on important national, regional and international issues. The lecture was organised by Oxford South Asian Society along with Oxford Pakistan Society.

He said the purpose of his visit to Oxford University was to develop linkages with student community and academic institutions as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan about youth.

In this regard, he said the government would offer internships to the students from top universities of the world to various academic institutions of Pakistan.

He on the occasion gave a historical overview of important national and regional developments that shaped up socio-economic and political contours of Pakistan during the last seven decades.

He said the conflict in the region had negative impact on the social fabric and economy of Pakistan, yet Pakistan survived due to its inherent and unparalleled resilience.

He said Pakistan needs to overcome its trade deficit for which the government was embarking upon industrialisation by setting up special industrial zones in the country.

Responding to the questions of students, he effectively debunked the myths and negativity associated with CPEC in the western media and termed it a great economic project for the prosperity of the entire region.

Fawad said civil and military institutions were working in complete harmony due to which 70 years old paradigm of foreign policy was shifting, and opening of Kartarpura corridor was one of its manifestations.

He stated understanding between civil and military institutions was imperative for the continuity of policies as “it happens in developed democracies”.

In reply to questions regarding Pak-India relations, he said dialogue was the only way forward to resolve all issues with India including Kashmir dispute. “Pakistan wants peace within and peace outside. In this regard we are fighting extremism in our country and are willing to play our role in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan”, he stated.

He said “transparency and rule of law are Prime Minister Imran Khan’s priorities”.

Responding to some questions of the students about freedom of expression, the Minister said that Pakistan has the free media and the present government removed all censorship on state media from the very outset.

He, however, underlined the need for developing an international regulatory regime to end incitement to violence and hate speech on social media.