Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, addresses the World Government Summit at Madinat Jumeirah Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed his mantra of success — never give up.

“I learnt my lessons in sport — you only lose when you give up,” said Imran while addressing the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday. Scores of world leaders including His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, were also present at the event.

Pegging his journey of success to his 20-year cricketing career, which culminated with a grand win in the cricket World Cup for Pakistan in 1992, Imran said: “In the 20 years of my cricket career, I have seen very many talented players, but they did not succeed because they had the fear of losing. You have to take risks to be succeed.”

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“This is the time to take risks and invest in Pakistan as we will help people make money,” he said. Imran quoted Shaikh Mohammad saying: “Businessmen must take risks to succeed.”

Invest in Pakistan

Imran invited investors to take advantage of business-friendly policies of the government by investing in various sectors of Pakistan. What is deemed as one of his best speeches and the first at such a mega platform where more than 4,000 people from 40 countries gathered, Imran outlined his vision of governance and his very purpose of being the prime minister of Pakistan.

“I want to eliminate poverty in my country by making it a welfare state based on the example of the State of Madina during the time of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Power corridor

Sharing his struggle to the corridors of power, Imran said people would laugh at him when he started his political career in 1996. “I learnt from my mistakes and never gave up. My party was washed out in my first election (1997), I got only one seat in the second election (2002). I boycotted the elections in 2008. I managed to get to government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in 2013. I got the highest number of 70 million votes in 2018 and formed the government in Pakistan.”

Imran said his government is striving hard to develop Pakistan along the model of the State of Madina based on principles of justice, humanity, merit, and accountability. “No society or country can make progress without improving governance, ensuring accountability, and checking corruption,” he said.

No discrimination

And Imran is showing no discrimination when it comes to the process of accountability. Apart from sending former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to jail on corruption charges, he has put a travel ban on former president Asif Ali Zardari and a score of other leaders are facing corruption charges in courts. He even arrested his own senior party leader and minister Aleem Khan last week on charges of graft. He has time and again ruled out any reconciliation with the corrupt, which had been the hallmark of earlier governments.

State of Madina

‘The State of Madina was based on two principles — justice and welfare — and that is what I am doing in Pakistan,” he said. He said Prophet Mohammad [Peace Be Upon Him] had laid the foundations of the first welfare state on earth by upholding the rule of law and emphasised on seeking knowledge. He said China has brought its 700 million population out of poverty in 30 years. “The PTI government also believes in investing in human capital of the country to uplift common people,” he said. “Half of Pakistan’s population (of 220 million) is at poverty line while 20 per cent people are living on below poverty line. I want to eliminate poverty and help people make money on equitable basis,” he said.

He also gave examples of the UAE’s progress and lessons learnt from its development. “I want Pakistan to go up and I see UAE as an example,” he added.

Painful reforms

The Pakistani prime minister asked his people to bear with him as reforms would be painful but he said everyone would benefit in the end.

“We are pursing a reform agenda to develop Pakistan on modern lines, which include facilitating ease of doing business, changing tax laws, and encouraging investments,” he said, adding Pakistan has the greatest tourism potential and the government is focusing on that sector. “We are opening up Pakistan to the world as we have granted visa on arrival facility to more than 70 countries.

Meeting with IMF Chief

Imran made the best out of his visit to Dubai as he also met Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the sidelines of the World Government Summit. During the meeting he reiterated the government’s commitment to undertaking structural and governance reforms and strengthening social protection in the country.

The IMF Managing Director acknowledged the steps taken so far by the Pakistan government to stabilise the economy. Legarde said the IMF would remain engaged in supporting Pakistan in sustaining its economic recovery. The two sides agreed to work together on policy priorities and reforms aimed at reducing imbalances and laying the foundations of a job creating growth path in Pakistan. Deliberations between Pakistani authorities and IMF staff would continue to finalise an agreement on the contours of a programme.