PM Imran to address Pakistani diaspora at Washington stadium on Sunday

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, who left for the US earlier in the day for a three-day official visit, is set to address a “record-setting” gathering of the Pakistani diaspora in Washington on Sunday.

The Capital One Arena can house more than 20,000 people with a lion’s share of the tickets for the event already having been sold out.

The prime minister’s community address is distinctive as in the past visiting Pakistani leaders would address Pakistani expatriates in community halls or closed-door rooms in hotels.

Around one million Pakistani-Americans reside in the country, which has also been a major source of remittances for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited the stadium to review arrangements for the event.

“Visited Capital One Arena to oversee arrangements for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address,” he tweeted. “Every Pakistani in the United States is looking forward to Khan Sahab’s maiden visit as Prime Minister. This is a moment they have long waited for.”

Chinese companies pledge to invest $5bn in Pakistan

Heads of different Chinese companies on Friday gave assurance to Prime Minister Imran Khan to invest US $5 billion in Pakistan in next three to five years.

The investment and transfer of industrial setup by Chinese companies will generate over 50,000 jobs in Pakistan the first year, the PM Office said, as a delegation comprising heads and representatives of 55 Chinese companies met the prime minister.

The Chinese corporate leaders with their businesses in multiple areas including small and medium enterprise showed keen interest to invest in Pakistan. The meeting was the follow-up of Prime Minister Khan visit to China in April where the leadership of two countries agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in key areas, particularly trade and investment.

Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the interest of Chinese companies, saying Pakistan’s diverse areas have immense potential for foreign investment. Inspired by the strategy of the Chinese leadership on peace, governance and poverty alleviation, he said the government is willing to learn from these experiences to achieve the goals of national prosperity.

Imran Khan said China always sided with Pakistan in tough times, adding that people of both countries are tied in a strong bond of friendship. On China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the project will prove to be a game changer in exploring the true potential of bilateral trade relations. He said implementation of CPEC-related initiatives is a priority for the government, and mentioned setting up a special department at the planning ministry to oversee smooth running of projects. He said the government is focusing on the concept of ‘ease of doing business’ to promote foreign investment.

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said China will extend full cooperation to Pakistan in promoting business activities and establishing strong trade links for the country’s economic stability.

Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood apprised the meeting of the government’s fiscal policies and progress on CPEC-related projects.

Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gilani and Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi were present. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday directed the Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to harmonise the business-related laws enforced at the Centre and the provinces within a month.

Chairing a meeting of the BoI’s Board of Directors here, the prime minister also directed to ease the business-related laws in light of the board’s recommendations to remove unnecessary conditions. The meeting discussed the measures to promote local and foreign investment, remove impediments, establishment of special economic zones, facilitation of the industrial sector and the business community at the federal and provincial levels.

The BoI chairman presented to the prime minister the first draft of the proposed new strategy for 2020-2024 on investment that would be finalised in accordance with the suggestions by the board members. The prime minister was apprised that the BoI has initiated the process to bring harmony among various federal and provincial laws related to the business sector. It was told that the BoI is also mulling over the laws concerning the special economic zones to make them business friendly.

he prime minister said it is among the government’s priorities to encourage and facilitate the investors. He viewed that the disharmony among the federal and provincial laws, unnecessary regulations for the business, sadist tendency in relevant government institutions and corrupt practices have created trouble for the business community that has also stagnated the industrial development. He said the government is taking full advantage of a huge number of young population, low-cost workforce and the government’s liberal investment policies, which are providing a conducive atmosphere for the investment.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting to review the progress on legal and administrative matters regarding implementation of Naya Pakistan Housing Programme. The meeting was attended by Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Minister for Economic Affairs Hamad Azhar, Finance Advior Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Trade Advisor Abdur Razak Dawood, Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gilani, Secretary Housing Dr Imran Zeb and Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority Anwar Ali.

PM Imran, Chinese President discuss strengthening of bilateral ties, CPEC

BEIJING: Imran Khan, who is on his first official visit to China after assuming charge as Pakistan’s prime minister, met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday.

The meeting between the heads of the states took place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. High-level delegations from both the sides were also in attendance.

The two sides discussed strengthening of bilateral relations and matters of mutual regional and international interests, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. They also reviewed all the aspects of Pakistan-China strategic partnership.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked President Xi Jinping for extending warm hospitality to him upon arrival.

Praising China’s progress, PM Imran said President Xi’s vision and leadership are exemplary and China’s phenomenal achievements are worth emulating. He further said he had come to China to learn.

“My party has only been in power for two months. Unfortunately we have inherited a very difficult economic situation,” PM Imran said, as quoted by Reuters.

“Countries go in cycles. They have their high points, they have their low points. Unfortunately, our country is going through a low point at the moment with two very big deficits, a fiscal deficit and a current account deficit. And so we, as I’ve said, have come to learn.”

President Xi told the Pakistani premier that he highly valued the two countries’ relations, reaffirming they were “all-weather” friends.

“I attach great importance to China-Pakistan relations and am willing to work together with the prime minister to strengthen the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and build a new era of China-Pakistan destiny,” Xi said.

During the meeting, PM Imran extended an invitation to President Xi to visit Pakistan.

According to sources, PM Imran also took the Chinese premier into confidence regarding investments from other countries in CPEC.

Pakistan is expected to receive $6 billion economic package from China during PM Imran’s visit, the sources said. A loan of $1.5 billion and a grant of $1.5 billion are expected to be offered, along with an additional package of $3 billion for CPEC.

$1.5 billion are expected to be deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan, while Pakistan Railways may also be included in the package.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a separate meeting that China would not let Pakistan down.

“The Chinese side will continue to provide support and help to the best of its ability for Pakistan´s economic and social development and national construction,” China´s Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying, without giving details.

PM Imran reached China on Thursday night, where he was welcomed by Chinese Transport Minister and Ambassador to Pakistan, Li Xiaopeng and Yao Jing, respectively, at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid are accompanying the premier. Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser to Khan on commerce, textiles, industries production and investment, and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal are also with the PM on his China visit.

On November 3, PM Imran will visit the Monument to the People’s Heroes at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and also meet the chairman of the National People’s Congress.

He will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the same day, when the two countries are expected to sign a series of agreements.

On November 4, the PM will speak at the Central Party School before leaving for Shanghai to participate in the first China International Import Expo. The premier will be a keynote speaker at the inauguration of the expo, and among 18 heads of state and government who will be attending the expo.

More than 2,800 companies from 130 countries and regions, and 160,000 buyers from over 80,000 Chinese and foreign companies will participate in the expo.

‘Lot to learn from China’

Prior to his departure to Beijing, PM Imran said Pakistan could learn more from its all-weather strategic partner China than any other country in the world.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, the premier said: “We have a lot to learn from China. China went through a lot of problems that we face right now.

“Like Pakistan, China too had a lot of corruption and poverty. But the way it has dealt with corruption and poverty has been an example for not just Pakistan but for a lot of the developing world.

“We can learn more from China because China has recently developed as opposed to western economies, which are way ahead of us in terms of their development evolution,” he noted.

The prime minister also stressed the economic potential of the CPEC. “It has given a great opportunity to Pakistan to bring in foreign investment and get out of the difficult economic situation which we are in.

Pakistan has enormous potential, but unfortunately through mismanagement, we have not really achieved that potential through poor governance, [and] corruption being one of the main reasons.

“Corruption is always a reason that stops a country from achieving its potential,” he had said, adding that China could share with Pakistan its expertise in fighting white-collar crime, which the PTI-led government was also trying to combat.

PM Imran said the main plank of his party’s manifesto was to bring people out of poverty, and that it was one area where he looked forward to meeting the Chinese leadership and learning from all the various steps taken by China to bring its people out of poverty.

Federal government postings to expedite CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The federal government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan attaches top priority to the development and progress of the people of Balochistan, a government spokesperson says.

In this connection, as a first step, the federal government has posted nine experienced and senior officers of the federal services in Balochistan for implementing important development projects and expediting work being carried out under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Balochistan.

The government, the spokesperson said, has carried out reshuffling of such officers who were posted at particular stations for long as part of its policy to post officers on merit.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan had also requested for posting officers to assist the provincial government in carrying out its plans aimed at improving the living standard of the people of Balochistan, the spokesperson added.

PM Imran to nation: Increase in Export and Support to SME

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first televised address to the nation has said that we have to change our thinking and lifestyle.

He said Pakistan has been braving the most difficult financial conditions of its history and we have to get more loans to pay the interest of previous loans.

He said Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali is his ideal and for him politics is not a career. He said we want to make a Pakistan that was envisioned by Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal. He criticized that we are still living in big houses like Prime Minister House, governor houses and commissioner houses.

He said the Prime Minister House alone is spread over 1100 canals and its annual expenses are tens of millions of rupees.

Khan said a beggar nation cannot be a great nation. He said the country has no funds to spend on its children. He announced to auction the vehicles of the prime minister house.

He said I promise that the money of the nation would be spent on it. He said taxpayers’ money would be spent on people. He said he will keep two vehicles and two servants.

He said he will fight the challenges. He said they would take steps to promote investment.  He asked the overseas Pakistanis to deposit their money in Pakistan banks.

He said we will remove hurdles in way of exports. He said we will fight corruption. He said the NAB would be helped in all possible ways.

He said we will make a law that any person pointing out and helping in recovery of the looted money by the corrupt people would get a share of 25 to 30 percent from the recovered amount. He announced to form a taskforce to bring back the looted money of the country.

He said new effectives laws would be enacted on the pattern of the KpK province. He said we will bring a system in which the civil cases would be decided within one year. He requested the chief justice of Pakistan to play his due role in this regard.

He said the government would introduce police and jail reforms. He said we will send lawyers to visit jails and assist the prisoners.  He said we will take stern action to end child abuse.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government schools would be improved for betterment of education. He said we will also improve the seminary education. He said we will revamp healthcare and improve condition of government hospitals. He said we will introduce system of health card in the country.

Khan said the issue of water shortage is a very serious issue. He said the tanker mafia is minting money due to shortage of water. He said we are forming a separate ministry and take all-out steps for conservation and saving of water. He said the Bhasha Dam would be built on all costs.

He praised the efforts of the chief justice of Pakistan regarding building new dams. He said we will assist farmers and help them in increasing production.

He said we will introduce reforms in civil service and ensure upholding of merit.

He said we will give employment to youths and a big project will be made in this regard. He said interest-free  loans will be given to the youths. He said we will erect new housing units. He said tree plantation drive would be launched in the country.

He said we will establish new parks and new playgrounds.  He also announced to bring changes in the local government system. He said the South Punjab should be made a separate province.

He said the government will give special focus on Karachi and solve its problems including public transport issue.

Cricket hero Imran Khan sworn in as Pakistan PM


Islamabad: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony on Saturday, officially taking over the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country after his party’s victory in a July 25 general election.

Khan, 65, was elected the day before in a confidence vote by the National Assembly and is expected to lead a coalition government.


Khan won a lawmaker vote on Friday to secure Pakistan’s premiership, after his Movement for Justice party pulled together a coalition majority since gaining the most seats at last month’s national elections.


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chairman took his oath of office on Saturday to become Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the third largest party in the House that joined the PML-N and others in an opposition alliance, withdrew its support from Sharif’s candidacy for premier days before the election and abstained from voting.

One member of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), which contested elections under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) banner, also abstained from voting for either candidate.

Khan, 65, was elected by 176 votes compared to the 96 of his opposition rival Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N. The former cricket star’s ascent became certain after PPP, the third largest group, abstained from the vote and declined to back Sharif’s candidacy, despite both parties claiming rigging and military manipulation at the July 25 ballot. Khan pledged to investigate the charges and the army has consistently denied the allegations.

Khan will now have to focus on Pakistan’s rapidly deteriorating finances, as the US continues to pressure the nuclear-armed nation over its alleged support for insurgent groups. It is only the second successful, consecutive transfer of power between civilian governments in a country that has been ruled directly by the military for almost half its 71-year existence.

Promises to keep

After galvanising voters, particularly Pakistan’s large young electorate, Khan’s PTI has made promises to both expand social spending, while attempting to fix the economy and rebuild the nation’s depleted finances.

Despite forming a majority with the support of independents and several smaller parties, Khan’s ability to govern and push through reforms will continue to be tested.

“Even within the PTI-led government, extensive horse-trading is likely needed to get policies passed,” Fitch Solutions said in a report last week. “We are sceptical regarding the new government’s ability to fulfil its campaign promises given its weak margin of victory and resource constraints.”

Khan’s party has already flagged that urgency is needed to deal with Pakistan’s dwindling reserves, which have dropped at the fastest pace in Asia this year, to $10.4 billion. The nation’s current-account deficit has widened by 42 per cent to $18 billion in the year through June.

Asad Umar, a senior PTI lawmaker and the incoming finance minister, said in an interview this month that Pakistan may need more than $12 billion to plug the finance gap and a decision on where to source funds from needs to be made by September at the latest.

Many investors, analysts and politicians expect that most or part of that will come from an International Monetary Fund bailout. With Pakistan a key country along its Belt and Road trade route, China has also been providing the South Asian nation with billions of dollars in stopgap loans this year.

Those vast debts to Beijing have prompted worries from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said last month he would be watching to see if Khan’s new government uses IMF funds to pay off the opaque Chinese loans. Umar said he would bring more transparency to the more than $60 billion Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

During his victory speech on July 26, Khan called for closer ties with China and said he wanted a more “mutually beneficial” relationship with Washington. His comment comes after President Donald Trump cut Pakistan’s military aid and a US push saw the country added to a global anti-money laundering and terror financing agency in June.