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PM Shehbaz Sharif, WEF and Pakistan

By Naveed Aman Khan

April 30, 2024 04:14 PM


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During a two days visit to Saudia Arabia, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for a second time within a month. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the regional situation, and Israel’s war on Palestine. Shehbaz Sharif, who arrived in Riyadh to attend a two-day special meeting of the World Economic Forum, attended a Special Dialogue and Gala Dinner hosted by the Saudi crown. He congratulated the Saudi crown prince for successfully organizing the WEF Special Meeting. It was his second meeting with MBS in two months. They had earlier met on April 8 when Shehbaz Sharif was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah during Ramadan.

A high-powered delegation accompanied the Prime Minister including key ministers responsible for investment so that follow-up meetings could take place between the relevant officials. Premier Shehbaz Sharif met Saudi Arabia’s ministers of finance, investment, and industry at the sidelines of the WEF meeting. In his meeting with the Saudi finance minister, the two sides agreed that Saudi Arabia would explore more opportunities for investment in Pakistan. The Prime Minister extended his invitation to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, requesting him to visit Pakistan formally as soon as possible.

He discussed with Prince Muhammad bin Salman and the Saudi leadership to hold a special session of the World Economic Forum. Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his gratitude to the Saudi crown prince for sending a high-level delegation to Pakistan under the leadership of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The two leaders also discussed mutual relations, and the regional situation, especially the Palestine crisis.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised Pakistan to ensure strict financial discipline, saying that Pakistan can achieve macroeconomic stability only through economic reforms. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva held an important meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in which the new program was discussed.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has told MD IMF that his government is fully committed to getting Pakistan's economy back on track. He thanked the IMF MD for the support. The Executive Board of the IMF met and the final instalment of 1.1 billion US dollars under the SBA was decided.

The economy of Pakistan has long been facing multiple challenges and there are multiple reasons for the downfall of our economy. I would say that the economy of the country has not been properly and wisely handled during 2018-22 under Imran Khan-led PTI government. We have classic examples of the flourishing economies of China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi Arabia has followed the successful model of the UAE. The establishment of the great city Noam in Saudi Arabia will attract the attention of foreign investors and millions of tourists across the world. 

Saudi Arabia is oil rich country but besides this blessing, the Saudi leadership has decided to explore new opportunities for earnings. Pakistani leadership needs to follow the successful vision of the UAE and KSA leadership. Self-reliance is the key to success. To end the continual economic crunch the PMLN leadership has decided to focus on the exploration of its natural resources and IT sector. Pakistan is facing a serious foreign debt burden but Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is committed to overcoming these monsters. 

Pakistan Saudi engagements on the economy will brighten the future of Pakistan. During the next decade Pakistan with the grace of God will have a stable economy. The PML-N government has set a 2047 vision clear economic agenda. A strong economy means a strong country. A very sound law and order situation, foolproof security arrangements and a focus on the uplift of the economy can steer Pakistan to a safe harbour.

Participation of a high-level delegation of Pakistan in the World Economic Forum in Riyadh was a great occasion for Pakistan to grab more and more opportunities. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb struggled hard to translate more and more economic activities for Pakistan. All three dignitaries are working hard to overcome the gigantic challenges of the distorted economy of the country. Premier Shehbaz Sharif will have to focus on the energy and power sectors more than anything else. Energy and power are the basics of any economic activity. The electricity and gas tariffs are extremely high in Pakistan. The government will have to reduce these very high tariff rates so that industrial consumers can afford it. Because of high tariff and high labour cost Pakistani products do not win international competitive market. Thus exports do not increase. Pakistani products can only survive when the cost of production is controlled.  On certain matters like the economy, terrorism and Kashmir, the opposition and the government of Pakistan need to follow nationally determined policies. No one should be allowed to divert the focus from once agreed-upon this national narrative. Premier Shehbaz Sharif, Deputy  Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb have pledged to stabilize the economy of the country by all means.


Naveed Aman Khan

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The writer is editor, book ambassador, geo political scientist and author of several books on media and international affairs based in Islamabad. He can be reached at [email protected] and X@AmanNaveed11


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