It is worth remembering that the focus of this government is on the economy, and thus the meeting that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had with a delegation of businessmen on Thursday in Islamabad was significant. Mian Nawaz was among his own, for he too is a businessman, and thus it was no surprise that he used the occasion to announce a multi-pronged package aimed at promoting investment, creating jobs, mainly boosting industrial and business growth, and enhancing tax collection. Perhaps because of his own background, the package focused on business-friendly measures, which included the setting up of a PM’s Advisory Council on Business and Agriculture, a body which would hold quarterly meetings where government officials and representatives would meet and share ideas.

Apart from the Council being set up, there will also be an elaborate structure to reward taxpaying, with the 100 biggest taxpayers in four categories (making 400 taxpayers) will be issued Taxpayer’s Privilege Cards, which will entitle them to certain airport privileges. Particularly important is the immunity from tax audit granted for those who increase their tax payment by 25 percent, which reflects not just the average businessman’s irritation at the tax collection machinery’s abuse of power, but also the need for the government to reform that machinery than give taxpayers’ what amounts to a needless sense of privilege. Such steps do nothing to create the impression that taxes are an inevitability, and must be paid.

Mian Nawaz also spoke about terrorism, and while he can be faulted for not mentioning the human cost, considering his audience, he was right to speak about its economic costs. Terrorism has not just created the biggest challenge for his government, but also is proving the biggest hurdle in his plan for reviving the country’s economy. Unless it is brought to an end, it will prevent the implementing of his economic revival plan, because an essential component is controlled law and order, something terrorism prevents. This has driven away potential investors, and continues to do so.

By mentioning the need for peace with India, Mian Nawaz may have pleased that part of his audience which wants improved ties but did not take account of the Kashmiri people. He also did not mention the power shortage, which he had promised to end, and on which he and his government worked hard, but which his government now says it will take years to overcome.