• Sees illegal money transfer as the main reason for poverty
• Welcomes foreign firms’ interest in tourism
• Approves formation of Export Development Board
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered setting up of a special division under the supervision of an additional secretary from the interior ministry to make the border management system more effective.
He asked the departments concerned to timely share information and data on border security and management.
Presiding over a meeting, the prime minister said the government believed in free but secure border policy.
However, he said, besides securing the country’s borders, steps must be taken to promote trade, especially with Afghanistan.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and Ijaz Shah, PM’s Special Assistant Moeed Yousuf and Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.
It was informed that 10 departments had been connected through the system but there was no central authority to monitor border management. The meeting was also briefed about the system installed at the border crossings as well as fencing.
The prime minister was informed that there was a dire need to collect information at one place about people entering the country through land, air and sea routes.
He was further informed that the country had saved billions of rupees in a year by sealing illegal routes and curbing smuggling.
In a separate meeting, the prime minister said recovery of looted money was the government’s top priority.
He was talking to prominent economist and former State Bank of Pakistan governor Dr Shahid Kardar, who had called on him.
Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Special Assistant on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood were also present.
The prime minister said illegal transfer of money from developing countries was the main reason behind poverty in these nations.
The meeting focused on steps to prevent money-laundering, recover looted money and improve the overall economic situation in the country.
Export Development Board
In a separate meeting, the prime minister approved formation of Export Development Board with the aim to boost exports.
PM Khan will be its head and all stakeholders will be given representation.
The board meeting will be held on a monthly basis in which the country’s top exporters will be invited in order to address their problems.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Khan directed that financial assistance be provided to fishermen and steps taken for their uplift.
He stated this in a meeting with Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi who gave an update on the overall situation of the country’s ports.
The meeting discussed extending soft loans to fishermen under the Kamyab Jawan Programme.
The situation of Karachi metropolitan also came under discussion.
Promotion of tourism
John Menzies Executive Chairman Phillip Joeining called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday and discussed various proposals regarding promotion of linkages between aviation, airport services and tourism.
The prime minister appreciated the interest shown by international firms for establishment of tourism services in the country.
He said Pakistan was blessed with abundant sites that could be developed into world class attractions in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner.
Proposals to set up skiing facilities and mountaineering were also discussed.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari was also present in the meeting.
John Menzies is the holding company of Menzies Aviation, an aviation services business based in Edinburgh, Scotland, providing services in ground handling, cargo handling, cargo forwarding and plane fueling.
The prime minister also met Naya Pakistan Housing Authority Chairman retired Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider and Pakistan Island Authority Chairman Imran Ameen.
He directed them to ensure protection of the environment during construction activities.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020