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October 8, 2019

PM Imran says wish to put 500 corrupt people behind bars as President Xi did


Tue, Oct 08, 2019
 Prime Minister Imran Khan is on an official visit to China

BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said he wished to put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan behind bars just like Chinese President Xi Jinping did, to rid the county of "biggest impediment to prosperity".

"President Xi waged one of the biggest crusades against corruption and I want to do the same, but unfortunately our system is too cumbersome to handle it," the prime minister said in his address at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in Beijing.

Imran Khan mentioned the effective accountability system in China, where a corrupt mayor was convicted in just five days on charges of stashing tons of gold in the house's basement.

The prime minister said his top priority was to end red-tapism - another form of corruption - and promote meritocracy in the country.

He said China's exemplary step of taking its 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years was a source of learning for Pakistan.

Also, Pakistan can acquire expertise from the Chinese model of business, investment and wealth creation with an aim to be spent on less-privileged segments of society, he said.

Imran Khan said since the assumption of office, his earliest decisions among others was to facilitate foreign investors to encourage profitability.

"This government is the first one after 1960 which is encouraging ease-of-doing business - the concept being driven by the Prime Minister's Office itself," he added.

Of progress on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he told the audience comprising Chinese businessmen and investors that a CPEC Authority was formed to resolve all the related issues.

Under Phase I, he said, Gwadar Free Zone had been completed, Gwadar Smart City master plan approved and matters of tariff and pending projects were resolved.

In Phase II, the cooperation would focus on agriculture as Pakistan being the world's best fertile land would like to learn from Chinese expertise in yield productivity, he added.

The prime minister said prominent reasons to invest in Pakistan included strategic location, 220 billion population with 60 percent ageing under 30, economic revival reforms and industrial clusters through Special Economic Zones.

"This is the right time to invest in Pakistan, as the country offers an improved business facilitation system and mindset as well," he said.

He said for Chinese investment, the areas of attraction included textiles, manufacturing, Information Technology, physical and technological logistics, food processing, agriculture, and tourism and hospitality.

Also, the oil and gas sector and the gold and copper reserves offered tremendous opportunity, he added.

On scope in the tourism sector, he mentioned Pakistan's diverse terrain ranging from high peaks to sandy beaches and deserts as natural beauty.

Whereas, the area of religious tourism is another attraction as the country was a cradle of ancient civilizations including Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism etc.