Prime minister tells audience at Davos that Islamabad hopes to capitalize on tourism potential to strengthen economy
Peace in Pakistan and the surrounding South Asian region will help the incumbent government strengthen the country’s economy in the coming year, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday.
Addressing a ‘Pakistan Strategy Dialogue’ session at the World Economic Congress Center in Davos, Switzerland, Khan said peace has started paying dividends for Pakistan. “This is the first government that has disarmed terrorists and rehabilitated them. We are committed to rooting out terrorism,” he said, adding Islamabad had learnt its lessons from the Afghan jihad of the 1980s and the war on terror post-9/11 that had both inflicted substantial damages to Pakistani society.
The prime minister said Pakistan would no longer join any external conflicts. “Pakistan has played its part in trying to avert the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said, adding that Islamabad was also “actively participating to facilitate the Afghan peace process.” He said that if peace were achieved in Afghanistan, it would help Pakistan reach central Asian countries through an economic corridor, which would be beneficial for everyone.
Discussing Pakistan’s economic situation, Khan said his first year in power had been focused on stabilization, which had helped to bring the country’s current account deficit under control. In the coming year, he said, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government wanted to focus on growing the economy. “We want to grow our economy to provide jobs to our youth. We are doing everything possible to attract investment and incentivize the industries,” he said, adding that the World Bank had improved Pakistan’s ranking on the Ease of Doing Business Index thanks to the measures taken by his government to remove hurdles in the way of investment.
“Our foreign investment in one year jumped 200 percent,” P.M. Khan said. He said Pakistan hoped to attract investments in different sectors, including agriculture, minerals and information technology.
The prime minister said one of the key methods to strengthen Pakistan’s economy was by focusing on its tourism potential, as a lot of revenue could be generated from tourists. He said the country had been named as a top travel destination by several leading organizations this year and highlighted the ancient culture that was available for travelers. “Pakistan is one of the most undiscovered countries in the world,” he said.
Khan claimed tourism in Pakistan had doubled within just one year thanks to the efforts of his government.
The prime minister is currently on a three-day visit to Switzerland to attend the annual World Economic Forum. He has already met the leaders of several states, including U.S. President Donald Trump, and is set to meet a wide range of corporate, business, technology and finance executives, as well as representatives of international financial institutions.