–Says Pakistan’s state institutions are deteriorating, reforming ‘sick’ economy is a painful process
–Pakistan’s current account deficit has decreased by 75 per cent in PTI govt’s first year in power
DAVOS: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that his government is up against an “entrenched corrupt status quo that ruled Pakistan for 30 years” and does not want the PTI government to succeed out of its “fear of ending up in jails”.
The prime minister, who is currently in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF), made these remarks while referring to a blog by his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad. While speaking at the Pakistan Breakfast Meet, he said that when he read the blog he discovered that there were a lot of similarities between the challenges the two countries face.
“He [Mahathir] had said that the biggest challenge for Malaysia [when Mahathir assumed office] was an entrenched corrupt status quo, the same is with us. We are up against a corrupt status quo that ruled Pakistan for 30 years,” the premier said.
“They do not want us to succeed because the government succeeding means they will be out of power and end up in jail.”
Continuing, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s state institutions were deteriorating. “The first thing that the corrupt do is destroy state institutions because that’s the only way they can make money. That is another big problem we face. But, we are slowly trying to restore them, institution by institution.
“Another problem the country faces is the accumulation of huge debts by the previous government. How do you fund health and education after you are left with a small amount [after paying your debts]?
“But the biggest challenge is perhaps the energy sector, we have this huge, huge circular debt in electricity. We have decided to get together with stakeholders [to find a solution] because we cannot put more burden on the consumers,” the prime minister said.
Prime Minister Imran further said that reforming an economy that is “sick” is a painful process, adding that his government had done remarkably well during its first year in office.
According to the prime minister: “In the first year we reduced our current account deficit by 75 percent, which I think is a great achievement, and this is reflected in the stabilisation of the rupee, the stock market and in foreign investment.
“We are headed in the right direction, but struggle lies ahead. However, I am an optimist and I see good times ahead for Pakistan.”
Commenting on the shortcomings of previous governments, the prime minister said that in the past, the country neglected its most important asset – its people.
“We need to return to making Pakistan an inclusive state [with] inclusive development. Our whole idea is to now become the second government since the 60s to spend money on industrialisation.
“We are focusing on promoting industrialisation so that we can create wealth which can then be spent on [uplifting] the bottom tier of society,” he said.
Referring to his government’s social welfare measure known as the Ehsaas Programme, Imran said: “We have the most ambitious poverty alleviation program and, in very difficult times, have allocated Rs190 billion for this endeavor.
“My belief is that if we can concentrate on the bottom section of our society, facilitate investors and industrialists while making it easy for them to do business, and improve our governance system, we can release the [untapped] potential of Pakistan.”