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April 15, 2019

Economy can’t be fixed in a jiffy: Qureshi

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April 15, 2019

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the country’s financial crisis cannot be resolved in a short span of time, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government should be given time to implement its economic agenda.

Addressing the media after inaugurating a water filtration plant in Shah Rukn-e-Alam area here on Sunday, he said no one, including Finance Minister Asad Umar, could fix the economy instantly. He said toppling of an elected government was no solution and the opposition parties and the unelected political figures should wait for the next general election, scheduled for 2023. 

However, he added, even in 2023, people would re-elect the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He said there was no threat to democracy and the incumbent government would complete its constitutional term. 

He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was making all-out efforts to put the economy on track, as it is high time to do something special for the country. He said 10 years’ rule of Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan People’s Party had rendered the national exchequer empty. An economy based on artificial control of dollar exchange rate and massive borrowing was given to the PTI government by the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-N.

However, he added, the PTI government was making efforts to bring in foreign investment and strengthen the economy. He said both parties borrowed Rs30,000 trillion in their 10-year rule, while the country had borrowed only Rs6,000 trillion in its 60-year history earlier. To a question, he said the looters had only two options: either pay back the plundered national wealth or go to jail.

Responding to a query, he said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was an independent body, but the government expected of it to make the country corruption-free. NAB should hold accountability across the board, he added.

About the Afghan situation, he said Pakistan was just facilitating the dialogue between Taliban and the US and the next phase of talks would be held in Doha on Monday. He said Pakistan wished a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

The foreign minister said the Indian attack threat would continue until completion of the election process there on May 19. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would leave for Iran, China and Japan visit this month and constructive discussions are expected during the tour.

About the Quetta carnage, he said the government was investigating the matter and factors behind the terrorist attack. He regretted that the outgoing governments did not implement the National Action Plan in letter and spirit. The PTI government had placed the NAP on top of its priority list, and it was ready for dialogue with the opposition and other parties.

He said Pakistan could not adopt an irresponsible attitude like India by holding it responsible for terrorist acts in the country. He said the government was working on different options of creating south Punjab province. He said the PTI still stands with its commitment of creating a province and steps in this regard were under way. The foreign minister said the government was committed to rooting out the menace of terrorism from the country. "Innocent people were killed in Quetta. We have to see if sectarianism was the reason behind the incident or some foreign powers," Qureshi said adding that they would not talk without conducting a proper investigation. Meanwhile, he also addressed a public reception in NA-157 constituency.

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