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Web Desk
December 3, 2018

Rupee’s devaluation is a temporary phenomenon: PM


Web Desk
Mon, Dec 03, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had himself learned about the devaluation of rupee from news, but promised that devaluation was a temporary phenomenon. 

“The State Bank of Pakistan is autonomous. I used to get informed of rupee’s devaluation through news, even. Hence we have asked the SBP to take us in loop before taking any action so we can recommend and collaborate in stabilizing economy,” PM Khan said. 

“This devaluation of rupee is a temporary phenomenon. All the KPIs of Pakistan are in a good direction now onwards. We are bringing in remittances. We’re having huge investments now,” he said.

Khan that it was in his interest and that he and his ministers were held accountable for their actions.

“We are not afraid of our deeds being exposed. I would pretty much want it if any one of my ministers is not doing his job or is doing his job wrong,” Khan told a panel of TV anchors on Monday.

“Censorship is bad. Who hides information? Someone who’s afraid of publicizing his deeds. Democracy stands for freedom of press so media can serve as watchdogs.”

He lamented that there were better education institutes for elite.

“There is good justice system for elites. The rich can afford good lawyers, they can even get away with robbery; while the poor can’t get justice in time,” he said.

“Likewise for jobs, people from elite institutions get jobs easily. So, we’re bringing reforms, uniform education systems, then Health cards for medical care and legal aid for those who can’t afford.”

To a question, he said that he talked about poultry and livestock and people made fun of him.

“Bill Gates explained the same thing next day and people are taking it to be something highly out of the box. We’re a livestock nation, that’s the best way to alleviate the poverty” he said.

“Halal meat trade is worth 2000 bn USD, worldwide. We are a livestock nation. We can make the most of this opportunity area.”

Responding to another question, PM Khan said when PMLN movement came to power our current account deficit was 2.5 billion USD. When we came to power, PMLN left us with fiscal deficit of 19 billion USD.

“They spent 7 billion USD for maintaining USD’s value at a certain price. In such situation, uncertainty rises,” he said.

Khan disclosed that Axxon group was investing in Pakistan. Even China has said they were just giving us loans before but now they will also invest through CPEC projects now.

"Our focus is the Chinese model. Like China we are focusing on utilizing local labor, attract investments and increase our exports. All ministers are reporting their progress, future plans and cost cutting for the 1st 100 days that I will be reviewing this week." 

To a question, PM Khan said that the kind of situation we inherited, was unprecedented. 

"We’re lucky that we are still getting investments otherwise when your country is in such a deficit, investments naturally become hard. But we are adamant. I’m working harder than I have ever done."

"For revamping institutions like Railway, PIA, Steel mills etc, we have studied and in process of implementing from 2 models, Singaporean and Malaysian."

Khan said that his administration was not intervening in any institution. 

"Interior Ministry is under me, CDA comes under me, yet they are freely issuing reports against my own place in Bani Gala. This is unprecedented."

He said that Azam Swati would resign if he was found guilty of misuse of powers. 

"If Azam Swati’s misuse of power is proved, he will himself resign. JIT is formed by SC and it is independent. I have never intervened in this case although I head the deptt that is investigating Azam Swati." 

"There was a complaint against a Police officer that he misbehaved with Bushra bibi’s daughter. Doesn’t the Chief Executive of a province have the authority to at least summon that officer and ask him about the matter?"

"My own sister’s name is being discussed. Have I ever interfered in the investigations? ," he questioned. 

Khan said that  Pakistan’s sad reality was that "we go after the honest businessmen even. That’s why Pakistan has least ease of business. I have met business community to hear their grievances and ensure we resolve them."

"We are having one-window operations for ease of doing business. Lack of ease of doing business destroys Small businesses. Every institution asks them for bribe. So we are reforming that system."

"I am taking this moment to tell the public that we won’t have deficit anymore. Good times are ahead. We’ll recover money and we’ll have investments."

The premier said that the deadlock was that opposition wants Shehbaz Sharif to be Chairman of Public Accounts Committee. 

"Shahbaz is in NAB’s jail. It is ironic to name him for chairmanship. Opposition has boycotted all standing committees over Shehbaz’s rift. They are trying to pressurize me into saying “We support democracy, let’s work together”& give them NRO."

Khan said that there was no civil-military discord in his government. 

"I am not afraid of saying SC is totally independent, Pak Army is standing right by our manifesto to have better ties with its neighbors." 

"France & Germany’s analogy may apply to India & Pak is only b/c France & Germany fought many wars. That doesn’t make Indo-Pak relations same as France & Germany’s," he said, adding his government fully believed in Quaid-e-Azam's two-nation theory. 

"Kartarpur is to Sikhs what Medina is to us. Imagine how sad it would be if we were barred from Medina just four kilometers from it or imagine how happy we would be if we can freely and easily go to Medina!."

The prime minister said Pakistan wants act as mediator in Middle Eastern conflicts. 

"There are 2 groups; Saudi Arab & Iran. We are at good terms with both. Hence they want us to mediate."

"I know the Western mindset. They respect you if you protect your interests instead of bowing before them. More relevant than Yemen is Afghanistan. Today even Donald Trump has written to me seeking Pakistan’s support in Afganistan." 

Not ashamed of taking U-turns

Imran Khan said that he is not ashamed to accept that he does take U-turns

"Everyone mocks me for taking U Turns. I am not ashamed to accept that I do take U Turns. Yes, I compromise over some things for achieving my goals. My goal is accountability for all and I’m willing to shake hands with anyone who won’t object to that."

He said that General Bajwa fully supports government's decisions.

"Gen Qamar Bajwa is standing steadfast by us. There’s not a single decision that has been taken alone by either of us. All decisions are taken by me and Gen Bajwa stands right beside those decisions."

"There was a meeting due between me, Gen Bajwa and Akhtar Mengal. Akhtar Mengal couldn’t make it to the meeting but for the record, Gen Bajwa has given me full assurance on resolving the missing persons’ issue." 

Workable Kashmir solution

Khan said that there was definitely  a workable solution to resolve the Kashmir dispute. 

"India’s Vajpayi and Natwar Singh once told me they had come really close to resolving Kashmir’s issue back in Gen Musharraf’s era. That means there is definitely a workable solution to Kashmir issue."

He also defended Shah Mahmood Qureshi's googly comments that were met with angry response from Indian government. 

"I think what Shah Mahmood Qureshi meant by his ‘googly’ statement was that we have made it very hard for India to hate us now, with Kartarpur border opening. Their politicians cannot build anti Pakistan narratives to win elections now."

On recent protests against the acquittal of Asia Bibi, Khan said "We cannot allow people to come out against SC decisions. The State will have to take action if such mutiny arises." 

"The 1st pillar of Islam is to love Prophet PBUH. Anyone would support a person who calls himself a lover of Prophet Mohammad PBUH. But to misuse these sentiments for increasing vote banks is not acceptable."

South Punjab

"We want to give comfort to people. It is shameful that Rajanpur gets 2.5 bn Rupees per capita for development while Lhr gets Rs. 70 bn. It is supposed to alienate people of South Punjab."

"Give Usman Buzdar some time. He will turn out to be Wasim Akram plus," he added, jokingly.