by: Zahra Zahid:
Important meeting of Army Chief with businessmen Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig…
The business community complained to the army chief about bureaucracy, corruption and free-flowing smuggling. The Army Chief, creating 4 task forces on them, instructed the Corps Commander to immediately crack down on the smuggling of diesel, sugar and flour and not even a liter of Iranian petrol should enter Karachi.
The participants of the meeting drew attention to the country’s economic crisis, the high level of 335 rupees in the open market of the dollar, the difference of 30 rupees in the interbank and exchange rate, which is increasing the inflation in the country.
On the direction of General Asim Munir, the State Bank has canceled the licenses of B category exchange companies to bring the money exchange companies into the tax net and to stop dollar speculation so that foreign currency transactions can be done only through banks.
On the second day, General Asim Munir also met businessmen in Lahore. The purpose of the meetings was to restore the confidence of the businessmen. He said that Saudi Arabia and UAE have assured an investment of 25 billion dollars each to invest in the priority projects of the Special Investment Council (SIFC). Saudi Arabia has invested in IT, minerals, agriculture and defense, while the UAE has shown interest in food security in the agriculture sector.
He said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has agreed that to keep the country’s reserves stable, Saudi Arabia will keep 10 billion dollars in the State Bank, which will be returned through Pakistani rupees or barter trade. Army Chief also has a program to go to Qatar and Kuwait for investment in Pakistan, from where investment of 20 to 30 billion dollars is expected to come and thus a total of 70 to 100 billion dollars foreign investment is expected from the Gulf countries.
In order to improve the law and order situation in the country, General Asim Munir said that 1.1 million Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan while the rest are living illegally and will have to leave Pakistan. In this regard, a follow-up meeting was also held by the Corps Commander Karachi on the second day in which the implementation of the decisions taken by the Army Chief was discussed.
The businessmen described the meeting with the Army Chief as very encouraging and the measures taken to stop corruption in the bureaucracy are welcome for the country’s economy. In this regard, United Business Group (UBG) of which I am the Information Secretary, along with Zubair Tufail, Khalid Tawab and Hanif Gohar organized a press conference at the Karachi Press Club in which we discussed the issues of power theft and Strongly opposed renewal of expiring contracts of PPs on old terms in which IPPs have to pay unaffordable capacity surcharges without purchasing power.
It is gratifying that a few days ago, a crackdown operation has been started on electricity theft, flour, sugar and diesel smuggling across the country, while the perimeter around the corrupt bureaucracies is also being tightened. On the law and order situation in Karachi, Interior Minister Sindh Brigadier (Rtd) Haris Nawaz and Additional IG Karachi Javed Odhu told me a few days ago that the government has illegally identified the areas of Afghan residents and under the policy They will be expelled from the country.
Due to General Asim Munir’s crackdown, the dollar has fallen by Rs 302 in the interbank market and by Rs 30 in the open market to Rs 335 to Rs 305 in two to three days. Apart from this, the businessmen have asked the Army Chief to immediately privatize the loss-making government institutions Steel Mills, PIA, Railways and WAPDA, for which 1300 billion rupees have been invested so far.
Before General Asim Munir, the former army chief has also been meeting with the business community, but General Asim Munir had done his homework on the country’s economic issues, which made it easy for him to understand the suggestions and problems of the business community. He bluntly admitted that Pakistan will have to move towards another IMF agreement after the recent 9-month IMF program ends.
The activities of the army chief in the country in the last few days indicate that General Asim Munir has decided to revive the country’s economy by fighting the economic war of Pakistan, for which he will use his relations with the Gulf countries.
The expected capital investment will stabilize our foreign exchange reserves, which will reduce the pressure on the rupee and stabilize its value, which will help in controlling inflation in the country. Smuggling from the Afghanistan-Iran border is licking the country’s economy like a termite. Strict monitoring of these borders can save us from the scourge of smuggling.
The Special Investment Council (SIFC), which has been given legal protection by the PDM government, is a strong body led by civil and military stakeholders. SIFC can change the fortunes of the country by bringing investments in its priority sectors IT, agriculture, minerals and defense production, but for this we need continuity of long-term policies and political stability in the country.