Attaullah Tarar
Attaullah Tarar

ISLAMABAD: Calling the economy and the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) a ‘lifeline’ and ‘red line’, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar expressed optimism that development would continue with more investment in the days ahead.

“These are our red lines, which some disgruntled elements are trying to violate and trespass and they are surely doomed to fail,” the minister said while addressing a press conference, flanked by Commerce Minister Jam Kamal, on Friday.

Mr Tarar said efforts led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to attract foreign investment were bringing positive results, with the clear signs of economic stabilisation. Steps were underway to create an enabling environment for the foreign investors, he added.

Unfortunately, he said, the PTI leadership was engaged in such steps which were against directly inimical to the national interests, thus misleading the nation at the critical juncture. He said regrettably they were the same people who had made a botched attempt in the past to make the GSP Plus status of Pakistan controversial and were allegedly resorting to a malicious campaign against the SIFC, the government and the armed forces to hamper the process of national progress and development.

Atta Tarar accuses political opponents of resorting to malicious campaign against SIFC, govt and armed forces to hamper development

They intentionally targeted the SIFC on social media on the day the UAE made a pledge of $10 billion investment in Pakistan, he added.

He said it was acceptable if they had targeted him or his political party, but they were bent on sabotaging the economy, and the nation was fully aware of their misadventures.

Criticism over KP budget

The minister said there was no precedent, till date, that a province presented a budget before the federal one. “Normally, the federal government has to give budget estimates about receivables with allocating their specific percentages for the provinces,” he said.

He said the KP move might mislead the people while assuming that they would get 14pc of the receivables from the Centre. “How can they estimate the federal budget and declare 14pc (receivables) by themselves?” he questioned.

Mr Tarar said the opponents even did not fathom the exact meaning of the SIFC, which was, in fact, the lifeline of Pakistan.

The minister said three chief ministers were striving hard for the welfare of the people, but unfortunately one was creating chaos.

He expressed the hope that the SIFC would bring foreign direct investment in the country.

The minister said the federal government was committed to ensuring progress and development of the country. “We are ready to sit and work together with all provinces.”

He reiterated that the SIFC was on the forefront and the world was also witnessing seriousness on the foreign policy issues.

The UAE, he said, had allocated $10 billion for investment, which was a landmark achievement of both the government and SIFC. He said that before the setting up of the SIFC, investors had to visit multiple ministries and divisions as no one-window operation was available.

The UAE’s official news agency had also formally reported about the $10 billion investment initiative, he mentioned. It seemed political opponents were upset due to such initiatives on the economic and diplomatic fronts, he added.

Mr Tarar said PM Shehbaz during all his foreign visits had clearly indicated that Pakistan would welcome investment and not aid or loans. The international community believed that the country had great potential, immense capabilities and natural resources, he said, adding that Pakistan had 68pc youth bulge, natural resources and skilled human resource.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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