Inspired by China’s way of tackling corruption, Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said he wishes to put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan behind bars just like Chinese President Xi Jinping did, to rid the county of ‘biggest impediment to prosperity’.
“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. He 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 house’s basement. The prime minister said his top priority is to end red-tapism – another form of corruption – and promote meritocracy in the country. He said China’s exemplary step of taking its 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years is 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 Khan said since assumption of office, his earliest decisions among others was 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 China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he told the audience comprising Chinese businessmen and investors that a CPEC Authority has been 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 have been resolved. In Phase II, the cooperation will focus on agriculture as Pakistan being the world’s best fertile land will like to learn from Chinese expertise in yield productivity, he added.
The prime minister said prominent reasons to invest in Pakistan include strategic location, 220 billion population with 60 percent aged under 30, economic 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,” he said. The prime minister said for Chinese investment, the areas of attraction include 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 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 civilizations including Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism, he added.
Prime Minister Imran also held a series of meetings with the representatives of Chinese companies in Beijing and invited them to invest in Pakistan.
China Gezhouba Group Chairman Lyu Zexiang called on the prime minister in a meeting attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar and Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gillani.
The China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), founded in 1970, is one of the most competitive listed companies with very strong financing capabilities. As a transnational operation enterprise with the fastest growth in China, CGGC has expanded its business in more than 100 countries and regions.
In another meeting, the prime minister met Long March Tyre Company CEO Li Qingwen and discussed investment and business scenario. Chaoyang New Long March Tyre Co Ltd is a member of the Lianoning Tyre Group and is one of the best tyre manufacturers. Orient Holdings Group Limited Chairman Jiang Xueming called on the prime minister and discussed industrial matters. Orient has business areas involving infrastructure construction, real estate development, construction materials, chemical fibre, mining, e-commerce, new materials and intelligent manufacturing, etc. In another meeting, China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) Chairman Guo Wenqing called on the prime minister. China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC Group) is the longest-running construction group in China’s iron and steel industry, serving as the pioneer in this field.