Extend handshake to all neighbours including India, suggests Arif Habib to PM Shehbaz

  • Also advises improving relations with 'resident' at Adiala Jail, in reference to Imran Khan
Published April 24, 2024

Pakistan’s business magnate Arif Habib on Wednesday suggested that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should extend handshakes to all neighbours including India, stressing that the way forward for improvement was to develop better relations including with political rival Imran Khan who is currently incarcerated at Adiala Jail.

“You shook hands with the IMF managing director last year,” said Habib as he addressed a gathering of Karachi’s business community that was there to meet PM Shehbaz during his one-day visit.

“That was when the KSE-100 was at around 42,000. Now its at 72,000, rallying 70% and adding $13 billion to market cap. You have also shook hands with the Pakistan Peoples Party (to form a coalition) and there are good results from it.

“I would want that you shake two more hands. One with our neighbours, which you are already doing, (but) also include India, and another handshake with a ‘resident’ at Adiala Jail and improve things there. If this basic thing is done, we will improve,” added Habib.

Habib’s remarks were in reference to PM Shehbaz’s last-year’s meeting with IMF Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris. Many see it as the pivot towards a $3-billion Stand-By Arrangement, which was an upgrade to the previous bailout programme that had remained stalled for months.

In the backdrop of the Iranian president’s recent visit, Habib also suggested improving relations with all neighbours including India, with which trade has remained suspended over several thorny issues.

Habib also highlighted three issues with Pakistan’s economy.

“There were some headwinds for Pakistan’s economy previously. However, that has passed.

“Now we want to address tailwinds. Inflation has come down, and April’s figure may very well be 17.5%. This will take average inflation for FY24 lower.

“The sooner we have a cut in the interest rate, the better.

“High energy prices and taxation are also hindering businesses and raising the cost.

“But a cut in the interest rate will result in massive saving for the government. This saving, along with the higher profit of the central bank, can be transferred as benefit through a cut in the tax rate – especially the super tax.

“This will create a better sentiment, and the government will benefit from this activity.”

Habib also said that the business community will actively participate in all privatisation offers of the government.

PM Shehbaz called Karachi’s business community the “backbone of the economy” and stressed that the government’s privatisation agenda will be pursued with transparency and without bureaucratic hurdles.

The premier was accompanied by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb along with others, and was on a one-day visit to Karachi. In a separate meeting earlier, he had assured Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of the federal government’s full support, saying that he was present at the CM’s “beck and call”.


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A. Chak Apr 24, 2024 09:38pm
Handshakes are amongst equals.
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Chawla.i Apr 25, 2024 12:27am
Arif bhai is correct rg shakghndss with all but as econmy SME s r d Backbone which r bledng rather dead bcs of last three years interest rates Also selling Rekodik at a billion dollars,arif bh wake up
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Ritch8e Apr 25, 2024 06:36pm
Pakistan has absolutely nothing of value to offer to India. Also, trading with India while ignoring the savage repression of Indian Muslims would be a severe injury to Pakistan's dignity and honor.
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