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'We want to promote and protect investment': PM Khan assures Karachi businessmen

Updated December 09, 2018

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Prime Minister Imran Khan discusses ongoing development projects with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail at the Governor House. —Photo courtesy: Sindh Governor House
Prime Minister Imran Khan discusses ongoing development projects with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail at the Governor House. —Photo courtesy: Sindh Governor House

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Karachi on Sunday for a day-long visit during which he met with various members of the business community to seek their advice and assured them of the government's commitment to "promote and protect investment in the country".

Khan was received at the airport by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail. The two held a one-on-one meeting at the Governor House, during which they discussed matters related to the political situation and ongoing development projects, Radio Pakistan reported.

A Pakistan Stock Exchange delegation led by PSX Chairman Sulaiman Mehdi also called on the prime minister today and discussed matters related to the economy.

Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Ishrat Hussain, and Special Assistants to the Prime Minister Naeemul Haque and Iftikhar Durrani were also in attendance.

The premier was briefed regarding the issues faced by the stock market and brokers. Khan gave the assurance that necessary steps were being taken to bring stability to the market.

"The [incumbent] government has brought a different mindset. We want to ensure promulgation of businesses and investment and want to offer protection for the same. We want to bring stability to the market. This is why I have come to you for advice," the prime minister was quoted as saying.

"There is a lot of investment being made in the country by investors abroad. Pakistan has a lot of potential for investment," he added.

The delegation congratulated Prime Minister Khan on assuming office and appreciated the government's efforts to bring financial stability to the country.

During the meeting, both sides agreed on the need for the government to broaden the tax base and for PSX to make better use of IT in the stock market. They also concurred on the need to put a stop to illegal transactions.

The delegation pledged its full support for the government's fiscal policy and presented its recommendations for continued financial stability in the country.

The premier also met with a delegation from the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The delegation comprised prominent businessmen including Siraj Qasim Teli, Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Agar, Shamim Firpo, and Junaid Ismail Makda.

According to PTI's official Twitter account, Khan also met officials of the city's traders association, "who discussed with him the problems they currently face". Finance Minister Umar and other ministers were also present during the meeting.

The premier during his visit was expected to receive briefings and exchange ideas about provincial development projects, citizens' problems, the anti-encroachment drive in the city and other affairs.

He was expected to also consult party leaders on the above-mentioned and other important matters.

This is his second visit to the city since his election.

Police fire water cannon on protesters

While the prime minister was meeting with various delegations, workers of Port Qasim tried to move towards Governor House to press for fulfilment of their demands pertaining to non-payment of salaries for several months and lack of job security, according to officials and the workers' leaders.

The workers, who have been staging protest sit-ins outside the Karachi Press Club for the last two-and-a-half months, were stopped by a contingent of police which had been deployed on M.D. Wafai Road.

This forced the demonstrators to change their route and when they tried to move in from Abdullah Haroon Road, the police intercepted them near Zainab Market and fired water cannons to disperse them.

The workers’ leader, Hussain Badshah, told Dawn that around seven employees received injuries and nearly 10 others were arrested. The detained workers were released later on.

“We only used water cannons to prevent [the protesters] from moving towards the Red Zone where all such protests have been banned,” said SSP South Pir Mohammed Shah.

The senior officer said that the workers had reached an "understanding" with the police a couple of months earlier that they would not enter the Red Zone to have their demands fulfilled, but that on Sunday, the workers violated that understanding all of a sudden.

Prime Minister Khan took notice of the police action against the protesters and ordered authorities to look into the workers' demands, DawnNewsTV reported.