- “The strategic direction of my government is very clear,” Prime Minister Imran said.
- Several problems arose after the 18th Amendment, the premier said.
- The prime minister said his recent visit to China had further strengthened the time-tested ties.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated that Pakistan will maintain its neutrality and will not belong to any side, dismissing speculation that Islamabad is inclined towards Beijing.
“The strategic direction of my government is very clear. We want to maintain relations with all and [we] will not belong to either side,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said during an interaction with former ambassadors and representatives of think tanks in the federal capital on Sunday.
Federal Ministers and Special Assistants to the Prime Minister were also present during the interaction.
The prime minister said his recent visit to China and bilateral meetings with the country’s leaders have further strengthened the time-tested ties and will accelerate the pace of work on the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
The prime minister said his recent visit to China was “highly relevant given the rapidly changing global political map”.
Chinese leaders appreciated Pakistan’s measures to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and positive economic indicators, he said, adding that they reaffirmed economic support to Pakistan through specific projects.
The prime minister said his visit further strengthened the ties between the two countries, adding that he had met President Xi Jinping after years.
Regarding Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said that the international community had a consensus on this issue.
Europe and all states neighboring Afghanistan agreed to avoid humanitarian crises there and insisted on unfreezing Afghan assets, he said.
“The United States also understood and realized the situation. All agreed that steps had to be taken to prevent Afghanistan from descending into chaos,” the prime minister said.
18th amendment, political issues
Responding to a question, the Prime Minister said that after the 18th Amendment, several problems arose regarding decision-making as he cited the difference in wheat prices in Sindh and other provinces.
Referring to the functioning of the Chinese government, the Prime Minister said that when a decision was taken there, it was implemented at all levels, but in Pakistan there was a lack of this synergy between the federal governments. and provincial.
Over the past three-and-a-half years, the government has emerged from the “minefield” of economic challenges, he said, adding that due to the government’s prudent policies, the country was experiencing a growth rate, record tax collections, revenue generation and remittances which indicated that the country’s economy was heading in the right direction.
On another question, the Prime Minister considered that unless you have a two-thirds majority in Parliament, you cannot enact laws to introduce various reforms in society, stressing that there is a need for d enormous reforms.
These legislative texts, sometimes, are blocked in Parliament or in the Senate, he argued.
He said that in China they have meritocracy and the rule of law. About 400 people at the ministerial level have been held accountable for corruption charges that have boosted President Xi’s popularity, he said.
COVID and lockdowns
The Prime Minister said the global pandemic had devastated the world. “Different countries around the world, including Italy, Spain and the UK, have opted for complete closures, but I have gone against such a precedent for which I have been bitterly criticized by my political adversaries.
He said it challenged the logic of imposing the full lockdown as it would have created problems for lower segments of society.
Defending his smart lockdowns decision, the prime minister said people in the US, Germany and France were on the roads against the lockdowns.
“We are ahead of everyone because we have not only saved our economy but also our lives,” he said, adding that in India the growth rate had been negative due to a general lockdown. .
To a question, he replied that he had met Russian President Putin in Bishkek. After his tweet about the negative use of freedom of expression to hurt the feelings of Muslims, they held a telephone conversation in which the Russian president indicated that there was no Islamophobia in Russia and that a central mosque in Moscow was fully functional.