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COAS assures businessmen ‘worst is behind us'

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was invited by the army chief to attend the session

By Our Correspondent
March 08, 2023
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir. — Twitter/@OfficialDGISPR/File
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir. — Twitter/@OfficialDGISPR/File

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Asim Munir, in a meeting with the top 10 businessmen of the country, on Monday night assured them in the presence of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that the worst is behind us, the country has overcome the possibility of default and we will prevail as a nation.

There is no official word available about the meeting, but sources said the army chief sounded optimistic throughout the meeting and exuded confidence that the current economic difficulties would be overcome. He asked the businessmen to stay firm and confident.

According to a source, the army chief told the top businessmen representing different sectors that nations face difficult times and we are also facing tough times, but the worst is behind us and we will prevail. General Asim repeatedly referred to Islamic teachings to assure his audience that Pakistan will successfully overcome the present testing times.

One of the participants, who attended the meeting but insisted to remain anonymous, said the businessmen had requested the army chief for this meeting. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was invited by the army chief to attend the session, which was termed very successful by the businessmen.

The businessmen were told by the army chief and the finance minister all prior conditions of the IMF had been met and the deal was expected to be done within days. The meeting was told the IMF has asked that agreements with friendly countries for the provision of dollars to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves should also be documented.

The businessmen were told commitments had been secured from friendly countries for investments in agriculture, mining and IT. The government expects advanced equity from these countries. It was said the civil and military leadership acted in tandem for securing these commitments.

According to a source, the army chief was asked by the businessmen why the establishment was not making politicians sit together to meet the serious challenges faced by the country.

The businessmen conveyed to the army chief the nation expected the military would not allow polarisation and chaos to deepen any further.

The source said the army chief said the military was playing its role and trying to develop unanimity.

It was also said by one of those present in the meeting that there was only one hurdle in reaching the much-needed unanimity.

Ten businessmen – five each from Lahore and Karachi – met the army chief.