Dubai: Pakistan has now decided to only partner with peace as the country has already suffered a lot due to decades of wars in Afghanistan and the 9/11 war against terrorism, said Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speaking at Pakistan Strategy Dialogue at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister his country’s participation in Afghan war against Russian invasion and the 9/11 incident, had serious setbacks in shape of societal damage, weak economy and life loss.
“The Afghan conflict left us with troubles like rise of sectarian groups, and drug and Kalashnikov culture. The war on terror left 70,000 people dead as Pakistan was once considered one of the most dangerous places in the world.
Bearing the brunt of these two wars, Prime Minister said, his government had categorically decided not to join any other war. “Instead, Pakistan has now decided to only partner with peace,” he said. Pakistan wanted to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said in reference to the recent tension in the region, following the strained ties between the United States and Iran.
Defending his stance, Imran said that Pakistan’s tourism sector saw a boom after we made a decision to only partner with people in peace and not to become part of any conflict.
He said his is the first government that disarmed militants, adding as a result, Pakistan’s tourism sector saw a boom.
“We are one of the most tourism friendly countries and all this potential was untapped, especially the mountain areas,” the prime minister said. “We believe Pakistan can collect a lot of revenue from tourism,” reported Dawn news.
He said the country is also actively participating to facilitate the Afghan peace process. He added there is a chance of ceasefire in Afghanistan which will help us reach the Central Asian countries through the economic corridor.
In terms of tourism, Pakistan is perhaps one of the most undiscovered countries in the world. It has one of the oldest civilisations, the Indus Valley [civilisation] which is 5,000 years old, and has sacred places for four religions,” Imran said.
“We are one of the most tourism friendly countries and all this potential was untapped, especially the mountain areas,” he said.
The first impact was that tourism recovered in a year, he said. Referring to Pakistan topping the list of tourist destinations in 2020, the prime minister said: “We believe Pakistan can collect a lot of revenue from tourism.”
Imran said that his government had set definite targets for growth of economy through foreign investment and ease-of-doing business as the country gained strength in financial domain. He said that his government was consciously planning to promote growth of industries across the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan used the interactive platform, attended by economists, businessmen and media persons from different countries, to highlight his vision about transforming Pakistan into an investment and tourism destination.
“The first year of our government was about gaining economic stability and now we want the economy to grow and expand,” he said.
He said Pakistan had now attained position among the fastest growing economies in the subcontinent and mentioned Pakistan’s high ranking in World Bank’s index of ‘ease-of-doing business’.
He claimed that corrective measures by his government resulted in the surge of foreign investment by 200 per cent.
Imran meets Trump
Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump held meeting on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2020, in Davos.
During their meeting Imran said he discussed with Trump on the situation in Afghanistan. He reiterated that Pakistan wished for peace in the region and would continue playing its role for South Asia’s stability.
On the other hand, Trump told the Pakistani Prime Minister — whom he referred to as “my friend” — that he would speak to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue.
“What’s going on between Pakistan and India … if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been watching it very closely and it’s an honour to be here with my friend,” he added.
PM Imran said: “Fortunately, America and Pakistan are on the same page regarding Afghanistan. Talks are being held between their government and Taliban.
“The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to always play its part in de-escalating the tensions, because no other country can,” he added.
“I wanted to say that from a relationship standpoint, we got a great relationship. From the standpoint our two countries, we’re getting along very well. I would say we’ve never been closer with Pakistan the way we’re right now. “And this is a big statement,” the US President added.
Meeting leaders from Azerbaijan and Singapore
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran met leaders from Singapore and Azerbaijan on the sidelines of the forum.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Imran discussed a whole spectrum of bilateral relations that are “marked by mutual trust and support”.
The two sides reiterated their mutual support for each other’s national causes and resolved to further deepen cooperation in all fields, the statement read.
The meeting ended with the president inviting Imran to visit Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, during a meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Imran invited Singaporean businessmen and investors to “increase their footprint in Pakistan” by referring to an improvement in Pakistan’s business rankings.
According to the statement, both the leaders expressed the desire to further deepen bilateral ties with a focus on increasing trade and investment.
Prime Minister Imran arrived in Davos on Tuesday accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood, Special Assistant on National Security Mooed Yusuf, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez shaikh and Ambassador at large for Investments Ali Jehangir Siddiqui.