BEIJING: Inspired by China’s way of tackling corruption, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said he wanted to put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan behind bars just like Chinese President Xi Jinping did.

“President Xi waged one of the biggest crusades against corruption and I want to do the same, but unfortunately our system is too cumbersome to handle it,” the prime minister said in his address at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in Beijing.

Imran mentioned the effective accountability system in China, where a corrupt mayor was convicted in just five days on charges of stashing tons of gold in his basement.

The prime minister said his top priority was to end red-tapism — another form of corruption — and promote meritocracy in the country.

Imran said China’s step of taking its 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years was a source of learning for Pakistan. Also, Pakistan can acquire expertise from Chinese model of business, investment and wealth creation with an aim to be spent on less privileged segment of society, he said.

Imran said since assumption of office, some of his earliest decisions were to facilitate foreign investors to encourage profitability.

“This government is the first one after 1960 which is encouraging ease-of-doing business — the concept being driven by the Prime Minister’s Office itself,” he added. Of progress on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he told the audience comprising Chinese businessmen and investors that a CPEC Authority was formed to resolve all the related issues.

Under Phase I, he said, Gwadar Free Zone had been completed, Gwadar Smart City master plan approved and matters of tariff and pending projects were resolved.

In Phase II, the cooperation would focus on agriculture as Pakistan would like to learn from Chinese expertise in yield productivity, he added.

The prime minister said prominent reasons to invest in Pakistan included strategic location, 220 billion population with 60 per cent under 30 years old, economic revival reforms and industrial clusters through Special Economic Zones.

“This is the right time to invest in Pakistan, as the country offers an improved business facilitation system and mindset as well,” Imra said.

He said for Chinese investment, the areas of attraction included textiles, manufacturing, information technology, physical and technological logistics, food processing, agriculture, and tourism and hospitality. Also, the oil and gas sector and the gold and copper reserves offered tremendous opportunity, he added.

On the scope in tourism sector, he mentioned Pakistan’s diverse terrain ranging from high peaks to sandy beaches and deserts as natural beauty. Whereas, the area of religious tourism is another attraction as the country was a cradle of ancient civilisations including Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism etc.