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October 9, 2019

Imran expresses desire to emulate Xi : Wish I can jail 500 corrupt in Pakistan, says PM

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October 9, 2019

BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said corruption was one of the biggest impediments to investment coming into the country.Addressing the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, Imran Khan said the government was committed to providing an investor-friendly environment. Hailing the economic progress made by China, the prime minister said the way it (China) had lifted seven hundred million people out of poverty in the last 30 years was an example for the whole world.

He also appreciated President Xi Jinping's campaign against corruption. "One of President Xi's crusades has been against corruption and I have heard that some 400 ministerial-level people have been convicted of corruption and put in jails in the last five years,” the PM said.

“I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail,” remarked the premier, saying unfortunately processing [cases] in Pakistan was “very cumbersome”.

He continued, “This is important not only for Pakistan but for most of the developing world because corruption stops investment. Corruption is one of the biggest impediments to the investments coming into your country. Firms will invest in economies that are cleaner.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan also invited the Chinese companies to invest in the diverse sectors of Pakistan including housing, textile, manufacturing, IT and financial services, physical and technological logistics, agriculture, oil and gas and tourism and hospitality.

He added, “Pakistan is opening up for the businesses and it was a great time for the Chinese companies to invest in the country.”

Assuring the participants that the Prime Minister’s Office will be dealing with all the major investments, Imran Khan said all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related investments will also be dealt from the PM Office in order to remove all the hurdles in the way of investors. He said Pakistan was encouraging the businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation would enable the government to lift people out of poverty on the pattern of China.

About Gwadar, the prime minister said Gwadar smart port city master plan had been approved. “Work on Gwadar airport is in progress and it will be completed soon,” PM Imran said, adding, “We are now especially concentrating on our Special Economic Zones.”

He said the incumbent government had also liberalised the visa regime so that the Chinese could get the visas on arrival at the airport. “This facility has been extended to many other countries as well,” he added.

Alluding to the geo-strategic location of Pakistan, the prime minister said Pakistan’s unique location and its young and vibrant population makes it the attractive country for investment.

“Our labour cost is only about 20 per cent of what is in China. Our government has taken a conscious decision to ensure ease of doing business. Pakistan has made the biggest strides in ease of doing business in the world,” he said.

The premier said, “We have just formed a CPEC Authority because we were having problems in CPEC projects for being under a lot of different ministries.

“We have now decided that there will be one authority which will resolve all the problems of CPEC, and that authority will be the Prime Minister’s Office, so that my office can make it easier for people investing in Pakistan,” added Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his country supports Pakistan in safeguarding its independent sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“China-Pakistan friendship enjoys a profound foundation and the two peoples enjoy traditional friendship. There are no strings attached to our relationship, and it is not targeted at any third party,” Li said as he met with Imran Khan at the Great Hall of the People, according to a pool report.

The prime minister arrived in Beijing on Tuesday on a two-day visit to hold meetings with the Chinese leadership. A number of agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers.

PM Imran also held a series of meetings with representatives of Chinese companies in Beijing and invited them to invest in Pakistan. The Chinese companies expressed desire to invest in housing, petroleum, coal, gold sectors of Pakistan.

China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang called on the prime minister in a meeting attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar and Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gillani.

In another meeting, the prime minister met the chief executive officer (CEO) of Long March Tyre Company Li Qingwen and discussed investment and business scenario.

Chairman of Board Orient Holdings Group Limited Jiang Xueming also called on the prime minister and discussed industrial matters.

In another meeting, Chairman China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) Guo Wenqing also met PM Imran.

China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Beijing and discussed cooperation in the energy sector.

The Chinese group showed keen interest in exploring new business avenues in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector. Founded in 1970, China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) is one of the most competitive companies with very strong financing capabilities.

As a transnational operation enterprise with the fastest growth in China, the group has expanded its business in more than 100 countries and regions.

Upon arrival in Beijing, the prime minister was received by Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi and other officials.