DAVOS - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that his vision for a strong Pakistan was revival of industries for wealth creation, to be spent on the uplift of underprivileged segments in a welfare-oriented society.

Speaking at ‘Breakfast at Davos’, an event jointly organized by Pathfinder Group and Martin Dow Group on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort, the prime minister shared his vision about Pakistan’s progress and related subjects including strategic vision, fighting corruption, poverty alleviation and geopolitical balance.

He said the country’s founding and ideological fathers Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal wanted Pakistan to be a humane and just society and vowed to set the direction of society on similar trajectory.

“Pakistan is about hope and I believe that with its immense potential and determination, the nation will thrive,” he added.

The prime minister also held meetings with heads of state and government as well as international organizations and shared his government’s vision of economic revival, peace and stability in the country.

Stressing the importance of good governance, he said institutions could get deteriorated quickly, but their revival always took a lot of time and efforts.

He mentioned corrupt system as the biggest challenge in slow implementation of reforms of institutions.

“It is like everyone wants to remove the tumor, but does not want to have the pain of surgery,” he said, adding the moment nation realized the importance of good governance, the country would make progress.

The prime minister also held an informal meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel here.

During the meeting, Angela Merkel invited the prime minister to visit Germany.

In an interview with American media outlet CNBC, Prime Minister Imran Khan roundly rejected the notion being projected by US officials that the CPEC is some sort of a debt trap for Pakistan.

“Pakistan is grateful to China as they helped us in difficult times by making investments,” he said.

“We were at rock bottom when the Chinese [government] came and rescued us,” the PM said while

responding to a question, the prime minister rejected the impression that CPEC has made Pakistan ‘indebted’ to China.

He pointed out that Chinese loans account for only 5-6 per cent of Pakistan’s total loan portfolio. “CPEC envisages cooperation in different sectors, including technology transfer in the agriculture sector,” he said.

“...because of Chinese investment, we have been able to attract more foreign investment in the country. We are establishing special economic zones under the project,” he added.

KASHMIR DISPUTE

The PM also called upon US President Donald Trump and the United Nations to intervene for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

“India has been taken over by the extremist Hindutva ideology embodied by the far-right party RSS, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a life-time member of this extremist outfit,” he said.

Referring to the situation in occupied Kashmir, he said eight million people have been living under siege since August 5 last year. “The Indian forces have picked up thousands of Kashmiri teenagers and arrested all their political leaders,” he noted.

The premier described it as a serious situation and warned that the friction could potentially spill over into a conflict between two nuclear-armed countries.

IRAN WILLING TO TALK

When asked about tensions in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict between the US and Iran, the prime minister said war is not a solution to any problem.

He warned that a conflict with Iran will be disastrous for developing countries as it will lead to a sharp spike in oil prices.

“The US has spent more than a trillion dollars in Afghanistan and still people are dying there. Let me tell you, Iran will be more difficult,” he said adding the sensible way forward is dialogue.

“And I told the same thing to [US] President [Donald] Trump, that war is not the solution.”

On the question of possibilities for a dialogue between the two countries, he said, “The Iranian leadership is receptive of the option”. “They were willing to talk,” he said.

The prime minister made it clear that Pakistan will only be a partner in peace. He reminded the interviewer that Pakistan had suffered heavily both in terms of human and material losses in the war on terrorism.

PAK-US TIES BASED ON SHARED OBJECTIVES

When asked to comment on the mistrust between the two countries and how they can come closer, the prime minister said problems occurred when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf joined the US war in Afghanistan.

“The US kept asking Pakistan to do more and Musharraf promised them what he could not deliver.” But now, the PM said, “this time [our relationship] is based on trust and common objectives”.

“Both of us are on the same page that there’s no military solution in Afghanistan and we are working hard to bring peace to the country.”

PM Imran said Pakistan is now a safe country and ready for business. Hailing the sacrifices rendered by security forces in the war on terrorism, he said Pakistan has disarmed militias and rehabilitated them.

IVANKA TRUMP MEETS IMRAN

Later, daughter of US president, Ivanka Trump, met with Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

In an informal meeting, both discussed education and training programmes to empower Pakistani women.

World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Dr. Klaus Schwab had called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sides of WEF summit.

Talking to the executive chairman, PM Imran had expressed the desire that WEF can partner with Pakistan on important social welfare initiatives for poverty alleviation and education.

He had maintained that the issues being highlighted by WEF this year are also relevant to Pakistan.

PM Imran had said that his government is focusing on skills’ enhancement for youth as it considers its significant youth population as a driver of economic growth.

SUMITOMO CORPORATION CEO MEETS PM

Masayoki Hyodo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Sumitomo Corporation, a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company, also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

Advisor to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Ambassador at Large on Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Khalil Hashmi were also present on the occasion.

The prime minister also held a meeting with President of the European Union Parliament David Sassoli. Bothe the leaders discussed issues related to GSP-Plus (Generalized System of Preferences).

In another meeting with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Koc Holdings Levent Cakiroglu, the prime minister invited the company to consider investments in energy, tourism and hospitality sectors in Pakistan.

Koc Holdings is Turkey’s largest conglomerate with products in energy, automotive, finance, retail, construction, tourism, shipping, defence, information technology and food.

Special Assistant to the PM Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Ambassador at Large on Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, State Bank Governor Reza Baqir and Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Khalil Hashmi were also present.

The prime minister appreciated the long association and presence of the company in Pakistan since 1953.

Meanwhile, renowned international mobile operating company GSMA’s Director General Mats Granyrd called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

The meeting discussed cooperation of GSMA in realizing the vision of Digital Pakistan - the government’s programme to accelerate growth of information technology sector.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting over 750 operators with 400 companies in mobile ecosystem including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies.

Earlier, at the at ‘Breakfast at Davos’ event, the prime minister thanked analyst Ikram Sehgal of Pathfinder Group and Martin Dow Group for sponsoring the event in expensive Davos, saying, he would not have otherwise burdened the national exchequer.

“This is the cheapest official visit to Davos unlike those by former rulers,” he said.

He recalled that his trip to United Nations General Assembly last November was the least costly with $160,000 as compared to President Asif Zardari’s 1.4 million expenditure, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s $1.3 million and even $800,000 of prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Imran Khan emphasized on uplift of underprivileged segments of society, which he said proved their mettle when given proper opportunities and platform.

He said the Namal University, set up by him, provided quality education to poor boys and girls to help them enter the mainstream in society.

“It is the drive that actually pushes the people to accomplish and the people with humble background, have enough potential to make their mark if given support and encouragement,” he said.

 

 

Nation will thrive with immense potential: PM