KARACHI - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said Monday that his party’s top priority will be to create employment opportunities through rapid industrialisation, increase of exports and attracting foreign and domestic investment by creating conducive environment and eliminating corruption.

During his visit to SITE Association of Industry here, he said Pakistan was unable to attract the desired foreign direct investment (FDI) because foreign investors believed their capital was not safe due to prevalent corruption in the country.

“If our party comes to power, it will reduce tax rates in order to increase its collection. Tax collection is a big problem in Pakistan because people do not trust FBR,” said Imran Khan.

“It is unfortunate that the government is using the FBR to victimize business community and politicians who speak against them,” Khan added.  Khan further said that there was lack of security for businessmen compelling them to shift their industries to other countries.

Criticising former president Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif, he said both, during their ruling era, looted the national kitty and the massive corruption ended the political career of both leaders.  “Nowadays Nawaz Sharif is seeking the answer of ‘why I was expelled’ (Mujhe Kyun Nikala) and soon Asif Ali Zardari will utter the same words.”

Speaking on the occasion, PTI MNA Asad Umar commented that unless the FBR machinery was overhauled, tax reforms could not be brought in Pakistan. “Finance Minister Ishaq Dar thinks everything is fine with the economy as far as the FBR is collecting the desired amount in taxes. Much of our economic issues, including a sharp decline in exports, are due to the policies of our finance minister, who has throttled the economic growth,” he said.

Asad Umar also said that PTI was considering formation of business advisory council and economic advisory council under the chairmanship of PTI chief Imran Khan for consultation with all the stakeholders to finalise the charter of economy in the larger interest of the country.

He further said that the draft of PTI’s proposed industrial and textile policy would be released soon and publicly discussed by all the stakeholders.

“There is a need to give a serious thought to developing a strong and attractive industrial policy for Pakistan with the objective of accelerating industrial growth,” Asad added. 

Earlier, SITE Association’s President Jawed Bilwani, addressing the gathering, said that Karachi was industrial and commercial hub of Pakistan which was generating more than 54 per cent revenue for the national exchequer and 90 per cent for the Sindh government. Karachi held the 60 per cent lion share of exports. He further recalled that during the sixties, industrialization was at peak in Karachi and employment opportunities were quite abundant. At that time, Karachi had mass transit and circular railway systems. Pakistan’s first effluent treatment plant was also established in Karachi in the year 1964. However, all these projects were now a past history and did not exist anymore.

Asking Khan to highlight his party’s vision on Pakistan’s economy, he said, “Tell us about your party’s manifesto and strategy to enhance Pakistan’s declining exports”.

Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former KCCI’s president Siraj Kassam Teli said that the current and previous governments of Pakistan failed to implement a robust industrial policy that would lead to industrialization in Pakistan. There have been many stopgap measures; therefore, they ultimately failed to improve industrialization. He lamented that the sitting as well as the past governments ignored the financial heart of the country and did not give it its due development share.

He urged that all the political parties should sign a charter of economy and the economic policies must not be changed frequently. Teli urged Khan and his party representatives to speak more about economic issues in the country.

In the end, Chairman Businessmen Group and former president KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli and President SITE Association of Industry Jawed Bilwani presented crest to PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Younus M Bashir, former president KCCI and Saleem Parekh, former chairman SITE Association of Industry along with other former chairmen and executive committee members were also present in the meeting.

The PTI’s top leadership including Imran Ismail, Fridous Shamim Naqvi, Khurram Sherzaman, Dawa Khan Sabir and others also came to the SITE Association of Industry along with Imran Khan.