- Says IMF deal would not have been possible without China's support
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday lauded and appreciated the coalition partners for demonstrating maturity, sincerity, dedication, and loyalty for bringing economic stability in the country.
Addressing the Cabinet meeting, he stressed the need for ensuring national unity as it was vital for socio-economic development of the country. The prime minister said the political leadership had set aside all their political differences and worked diligently to bring the country out of crises.
He said the coalition government in its 16-month stint, the shortest tenure of a government in the country’s history, endeavoured to serve the people.
The big challenge faced during the period was of flash floods that hit most parts of the country, especially in Sindh and Balochistan, but the way the federal and provincial governments joined hands to cope with the calamitous situation was worth appreciating, he said.
All the institutions, including National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) played a crucial role in the rehabilitation process, he added.
The prime minister also thanked Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for BISP Shazia Marri, who worked as a team during the rehabilitation process in the flood hit areas.
PM Shehbaz said the government had to face another challenge of high inflation that affected the common man badly. The main reason behind it was the criminal negligence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that had badly damaged the economic structure.
The coalition partners fully supported the government in taking tough decisions such as raising petroleum prices and sacrificed their politics for the sake of stability and development, he added.
With regard to the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the prime minister said all the stakeholders, including the minister for finance, contributed towards its finalisation. He also thanked China for supporting Pakistan during the crisis, as the IMF deal would not have been possible without its support.
“Chinese Premier Li had told me that he himself had talked to the IMF Managing Director to support Pakistan,” he said, adding during the last four months, China had also rolled over a loan of $5 billion.
He said recently a high level Chinese delegation visited Pakistan which showed that Pakistan was China’s best friend and that the later would extend all-out support to it.
The delegation had officially announced the launch of second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) encompassing many projects in agriculture, IT, Industries and export sectors, he added.
The prime minister said the coalition government had completed many projects in Gwadar, which were lingering for long time, in the shortest possible time.
As regards the 9th May incidents, PM Shehbaz said it was the worst conspiracy against the state, the Pakistan Army and Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir. However, due to the firmness showed by the Army Chief, the situation got under control within hours, he added.
He said the initiative of establishing the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) would help improve the economic conditions. “The federal government, all provinces, and institutions especially the Pakistan Army are part of this project” and it was the best opportunity to take the country’s development and prosperity to new peaks, he added.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the incoming government would continue the project with the same passion. Many cabinet members also expressed their experiences and thanked the prime minister for his support.