PM reaches Karachi on first official visit

* Abbasi says govt aims at economic growth, creation of jobs and increase in tax collection * MQM-P leaders urge Abbasi to release arrested workers

PM reaches Karachi on first official visit

KARACHI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Karachi for a day-long visit on Saturday.It is his first official visit to the port city.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Muhammad Zubair received him. Abbasi was accompanied by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. The prime minister commenced his trip by visiting the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, where he laid a floral wreath and prayed. He also wrote his sentiments in the visitor's book.

Earlier upon arrival at the mausoleum, he was presented guard of honour.

Abbasi later met Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair at the Governor's House. The governor briefed the prime minister on development initiatives taken to instill confidence in the business community. The governor also briefed Abbasi on the preparation of plans to address the development deficit in the infrastructure development projects in the province in general and Karachi in particular. Abbasi said the federal government will extend complete support for development initiatives in Sindh.

Abbasi also met a delegation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan led by Farooq Sattar. The MQM-P leaders demanded that their workers in custody be released and their sealed offices opened. The prime minister thanked the MQM-P for voting for him during the election. Farooq Sattar said then that he expected Abbasi to resolve Karachi's issues on a priority basis.

Abbasi later chaired a meeting on Karachi's law and order at Governor's House. During the meeting, security institution briefed him about the targeted operation underway in the metropolis.

 Later, during a meeting with leading businessmen, including member's office bearers of KCCI, FPCCI and Pakistan Business Council, at Governor's House, Abbasi said the objectives of the government were economic growth, creation of jobs and increase in tax collection.

"If the business community did not grow, the government would not be able to achieve its objectives," he said. The prime minister assured the business community that their proposals for economic growth and increase in investment would be honoured, the need was to work in unison for achievement of the shared objectives, he stressed. Zubair, Ahsan Iqbal, State Bank of Pakistan governor and the FBR chairman were also present during the meeting, PM's Office media wing informed in a press release.

The prime minister said there was convergence of interests between the government and the business community as both are determined for economic growth and improvement in business atmosphere in the country.

If the economy was not strong, the country would not grow, he noted.

He said there was much potential in the economic and trade sectors and stressed upon the coordinated efforts to tap this potential for progress and prosperity of our country.

Collectively, the prime minister said, they would resolve the issues confronting them. In the wake of smooth transition, the Cabinet took oath and the government started functioning immediately, which was good for democracy and has renewed confidence of the business community.

The Prime Minister said that the PML-N government would carry forward the policies made under the leadership of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

He said the PML-N government after evolving consensus among all the stakeholders, and due to the unmatched sacrifices of the law enforcement and security agencies has restored peace and glory of the financial hub of the country.

"We will ensure to consolidate the gains on the security front and ensure that economic and trade activities further grow," he added.

The PM while appreciating the candid views of the business leaders said the government wanted to facilitate the business community further. On development, he said the PML-N government has disbursed record amount from the federal divisible pool for generation of economic activities and creation of job opportunities.

In 2013, there was fear of default in the country but the PML- N government created the fiscal space and achieved economic turnaround, he added.

He said, the next step was to translate CPEC and other mega projects into growth.

Regarding security challenges, he said, they had always evolved consensus among all the stakeholders to address these challenges, and would continue to do so. He announced that he would be holding frequent interactions with them in the coming days to seek their valuable proposals and suggestions in this regard.

The prime minister said that he was extremely happy and thankful to be among the business community in his first visit to Karachi.



Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.