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PM keen to emulate Chinese model for economic turnaround

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his resolve to steer Pakistan out of the current economic challenges and expressed his keenness to learn from the Chinese model of taking its 700 million people out of poverty through long-term strategies, and economic and governance reforms.
Addressing a ‘Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference’ he invited the Chinese investors and the overseas Pakistanis with ample professional experience and capital for exploring the God-gifted huge potential in Pakistan.  The prime minister assured provision of complete facilitation to the investors and businessmen and guaranteed that all impediments in doing the business would be removed.  Lauding the Chinese leadership for long-term economic policies, he said in the past, Pakistan kept on repeating the mistakes without learning from them. The prime minister also announced to launch in the next week, a poverty alleviation plan in Pakistan, besides separately, forming a high powered think-tank to float suggestions and proposals for the government in running the affairs of the country and steering it out of the economic woes.  He opined that the chief executive and the ministers had so many things on their tables, so a separate think-tank on the pattern of Chinese model would provide them with valuable input. The prime minister while drawing the attention of the participants towards the vast untapped mineral resources and the youth potential of Pakistan, said a conducive environment would be provided so that the people should opt to invest.
Ease of doing business could be possible only in a society if the cancer of corruption was removed, he said, citing corruption as the main hurdle in doing business. Small and medium businesses could not thrive in a corrupt society, he cautioned.  The prime minister said in China, during the last five years, 400 ministerial people had been investigated for allegations of corruption. Contrary to it, in Pakistan, there was a lack of political will to put the crooks behind bars in the past.  Expressing the strong resolve of his government, he said they would tackle corruption with an iron hand and do everything to strengthen the country’s watchdogs against corruption. He reiterated that business-friendly environment free from corruption would be provided in Pakistan. The prime minister also regretted that in Pakistan, there were a number of under-performing sectors, underlining that every sector could perform and move forward for achieving the highest annual growth by adopting the Chinese practices of imparting proper skills and training to the vibrant 100 million youth.  He said out of the huge mineral-rich swaths of the country, only ten percent had been explored.  The prime minister also expressed the desire to learn from the Chinese expertise in agriculture, horticulture and fishery sectors. He reiterated that the relationship with China was very beneficial for Pakistan.
He also apprised the gathering about his government’s ambitious plan of constructing five million affordable houses in Pakistan within the next five years, which as a chain reaction would not only benefit 40 other associated industries but also create job opportunities for the youth. It would make the whole economy moving.  About the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said it was a great opportunity for Pakistan to connect with China through a web of power, energy and infrastructure projects. The CPEC would turn Gwadar into a hub of trade in the future, he added.  The prime minister appreciated the Chinese leadership for the continuous process of analyzing themselves, and cited the slogan written on the Communist Party’s office ‘learn from your mistakes’.  He said no nation could aspire to achieve unless it had learned from the past and regretted that Pakistan would not have been in the situation if it had learned from the past mistakes.  He also praised China and President Xi’s vision for free trade by opening up the closed economies. Alluding to President Xi’s long-term projects, he said under his dynamic leadership, China achieved greater success and in the last 30 years, what it had achieved, had never been witnessed in the human history.
The prime minister also noted that skills development coupled with human development were vital for an economic turnaround.  The Chinese government had brought back the experience of its skilled nationals and businessmen working abroad, while on the other hand, it sent its students abroad for special technical education, he said, adding the practice would be adopted in Pakistan.  The prime minister emphasized that complete industrialization could not be feasible without proper training to the people. He said about 8 to 9 million overseas Pakistan had been working abroad, including the skilled workers, laborers, businessmen and professionals, and his government had the target to woo them to come back and utilize their potential for the development of the country.  He also assured full investment facilities to the overseas Pakistanis for doing business in Pakistan and said most recently, the government had launched Pakistan Citizens’ Portal through which the overseas Pakistanis could raise any complaint and the government would respond. The prime minister also expressed his gratitude to the Chinese leadership for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and termed his meetings with them fruitful.

 

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Asia

PM expresses grief over the loss of lives in Kabul blast

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'Few signs of progress' in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in a blast in Kabul, targeting a religious gathering.
He strongly condemned the cowardly act of terrorism and said being the biggest victims of terrorism; he could feel the pain of their Afghan brethren who continued to pay the price of war that was brought to their region.
“Our people and the two countries have paid the heaviest toll, both in terms of human lives as well as material losses, but we stand firm and unshaken,” the PM Office Media Wing in a press release quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The prime minister also condoled with the bereaved families, saying “Our heart goes out to the bereaved families at this hour of grief.”

 

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Asia

Bangladesh photographer freed

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DHAKA: Award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from prison Tuesday after more than 100 days behind bars, in a closely watched freedom of speech case.
The 63-year-old Alam was arrested on 5th August for making “false” and “provocative” statements on Al Jazeera television and Facebook during student protests.
He was freed from Dhaka’s main jail Tuesday after being granted bail last week, his wife Rahnuma Ahmad told the Media. 
“He is now heading home,” she said.
He was being held under controversial internet laws which critics say have been wielded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to stifle dissent and harass journalists.
Alam spoke briefly to reporters after he came out of prison to describe conditions inside the jail, Alam’s close associate Rezaur Rahman told the Media.
The photographer had previously said he was badly beaten while in custody.
Although Alam was granted bail for his release on Thursday last week, he had to wait another five days to be set free as the prosecution moved to appeal against the bail order.
He had earlier applied unsuccessfully for bail four times.
Alam, whose work has appeared widely in global media and who founded the renowned Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, faces a maximum 14 years in jail if convicted.
His lawyers have argued Alam’s continued detention was “a clear violation” of his fundamental rights under Bangladesh’s constitution.
The photographer’s arrest triggered international protests – with rights groups, Nobel laureates and academics calling for his release – and came after a series of mass rallies this summer after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.
The massive rallies evolved into broader demonstrations against Hasina, who will seek a third consecutive term next month, and her Awami League party.
Alam told Al Jazeera at the time that the protests were the result of pent-up anger at corruption and an “unelected government… clinging on by brute force”.
He was arrested the same day, with many other protesters held on similar charges as authorities cracked down on demonstrators.
Human Rights Watch accused Bangladesh of targeting activists and journalists in the wake of the protests instead of prosecuting those who attacked students with fists and rods.
Michelle Bachelet used her first statement as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to raise the issue of attacks on journalists in Bangladesh.
In recent weeks, Hasina has been accused of stifling dissent further by ratifying a controversial new digital-security law.
And a prominent critic of the government was arrested for defamation last month, days after he helped form an opposition coalition.

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Asia

Imran Khan reaches Kuala Lumpur

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KUALA LUMPUR: Imran Khan reached here today on a two-day official visit of Malaysia. It would be the first state visit by any foreign leader since Dr. Mahathir Mohamad assumed office in May.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

Imran Khan leaves for Kuala Lumpur

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