KARACHI, Feb 3: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Thursday that "we are re-branding Pakistan to reflect its true value and potential to the world as it is set to attain a growth rate of eight per cent during the next three years as against 7 per cent today and 6.4 per cent of last year".

He was speaking as chief guest at a dinner hosted for foreign and Pakistani delegates attending the Expo-2005 here, inaugurated by President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday.

The prime minister spoke highly of Pakistan's economy, describing it as buoyant, vibrant and fast growing. He said today's Pakistan "is an exciting Pakistan" for the world.

He pointed out that some 500 delegates and several thousand guests from around the world "have gathered here at the Expo-2005 to see what Pakistan can produce and what it is all about".

"Those who are coming to Pakistan for the first time are perhaps still in a state of shock because the impression they may have had before coming here has entirely changed," he said.

Mr Aziz said delegates would have the opportunity to see the softer side of the country. In addition, they would find their visit productive, business-wise. He said our economy "has transformed" during the last five years.

"Pakistan of today is a high-growth country, with per capita income rising and the middle class growing fast. We see a lot of vibrancy and lot of activity today," he added.

Attaining a growth rate of around seven per cent, as against last year's 6.4 per cent, "is a great achievement", the prime minister said, expressing the hope that eight per cent growth rate would be achieved next year.

Mr Aziz said this growth rate "allows Pakistan and its people" to raise their standard of living and improve the quality of life, something already beginning to happen.

With this growth rate, the per capita income will rise and people will spend more and that will create more momentum in the economy, he noted. "This buoyancy in economy is sustainable and will provide a base for even higher growth in the years to come."

One of the reasons why Pakistan is growing at these rates and why the economy is going high is the macro-economic management but, more importantly, what is unique in Pakistan are the structural reforms introduced by the government, the prime minister said. -APP

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