In an interview to The Economist on Pakistan’s Independence Day, Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif highlighted the root problems of the economic crisis gripping the nation nowadays.
Titled “Pakistan’s prime minister on his drive to modernise the country“, PM Shehbaz mainly talked about critical structural flaws that hindered the state’s economy. According to him, the first reason is that Pakistan’s political environment has become increasingly polarised.
“Instead of debating how to run Pakistan better and rid the country of poverty, political parties have been at each other’s throats,” he pointed out.
“We have not invested enough in the nuts and bolts of development: education, health and infrastructure. This is in part due to an abysmally low tax take, but it also reflects our priorities in public spending.”
PM Shehbaz further highlighted the fact that Pakistan has not enjoyed the benefits of globalisation.
“Today, we hardly make anything that the world wants and our companies remain very comfortable only operating within our borders, often protected by barriers to competition,” he stressed.
He pointed out that Pakistan’s exports are just 10 per cent. Shehbaz said that where “two out of every three people are below the age of 30 and full of aspirations and where every third person lives on less than $3.20 a day and less than a quarter of our women work outside the home,” it is a moment that merits “serious introspection”.
‘Pakistan was one of the biggest victims of state-sponsored terrorism’: PM Shehbaz
In an interview with Newsweek’s senior foreign policy writer Tom O’Connor, PM Shehbaz said it was no secret that Pakistan was “one of the biggest victims of state-sponsored terrorism that is planned, supported and financed by hostile intelligence agencies”.
He went on to say that terrorist attacks against Chinese nationals were “aided and abetted by forces inimical to the Pakistan-China strategic partnership”.
Talking about friction between the US and China, the premier said: “While the Pakistan-China relationship is very special, Pakistan and the US have also maintained a long-standing historic bilateral relationship which covers all issues of mutual interest.”
He was of the view that the world cannot afford to go back into another “era of Cold War or bloc politics”.
The premier called for all parties to agree to the “minimum rules of the game in which the welfare of the people remains paramount”.
“Systematic problems can be fixed through engagement and consultations among all political stakeholders. This course may take time, but is the only way forward for the system to become strong, resilient and efficient.”
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