Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

Khan promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system. (Photo courtesy: Imran Khan/Facebook)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

  • The prime minister says that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy, once the pride of the nation, suffers now from “degeneration”
  • Khan said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized the need to improve the governance structure of the country while addressing a group of civil servants in Islamabad on Friday.
He said that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy was once the pride of the nation, though it suffered “degeneration” due to political interference.
He also promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system.
“I am not concerned about your political affiliation,” he noted. “I only expect you to perform your duties diligently.”
Khan recognized that Pakistan was facing significant economic challenges, though he described the situation as an opportunity to come up with “out-of-the-box” policy reforms.
However, he noted that his administration would not be able to accomplish much if the country’s civil bureaucracy did not properly implement its policies.
The prime minister said that corruption had destroyed the country, claiming that previous administrations had ruined state institutions to siphon off money and fill their coffers.
Admitting that the government was facing huge financial predicaments, he said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system.
He said that Pakistan could become a rich country within a brief span of two years and break out of the debt trap if it managed to address its governance problems.
At present, Khan noted, Pakistan’s debt stood at Rs30 trillion ($241 billion). He also noted that it was important to deal with rampant corruption and move toward a robust process of accountability in the country.


Pakistan gets ready to woo Saudi crown prince

Updated 15 February 2019
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Pakistan gets ready to woo Saudi crown prince

  • Pakistan is collecting 3,500 pigeons and colorful balloons to release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Crown Prince
  • Pakistan expects to sign multiple investment deals and other agreements during the two-day visit

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was rescheduling flights, blocking-off luxury hotels, and — according to one report Friday — collecting 3,500 pigeons and colorful balloons to release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Islamabad is hoping to sign a raft of investment deals and other agreements during the two-day visit, which begins Saturday and will include talks with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Banners heralding the crown prince were already lining the streets of the capital Friday, while the Express Tribune newspaper reported that authorities were trying to catch so many pigeons for a welcome ceremony that they were forced to collect birds from other cities.
Police, the armed forces, and the Saudi Royal Guards will provide security, a senior Islamabad police official told AFP.
The capital’s “red zone,” which houses Parliament House and the Presidency, was to be sealed off, while civil aviation authorities have been told to reschedule flights during the prince’s arrival and departure.
Authorities in the capital said two five-star hotels had been ordered to cancel all advance bookings as the rooms will be reserved for the prince’s entourage.
Earlier in the week local media reported that the crown prince’s personal belongings — including luxury vehicles and his own gym — were flown to Pakistan in two C130 airplanes.
The visit came as regional tensions spiked after neighboring India accused Islamabad of harboring militants behind a deadly attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
At least 41 paramilitary troops were killed in a suicide blast Thursday, with Indian media reporting that the Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to sign a record investment package with Pakistan, including a $10-billion refinery and oil complex for the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman said Islamabad is seeking to sign a number of other deals, including one “combating organized crime.”
Khan has been courting its Gulf allies for months as he seeks to stave off an ongoing balance of payments crisis and reduce the size of any potential bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have together offered Islamabad some $30 billion in investment and loans.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are also participating in talks with the US and other countries seeking to bring the Taliban to the table for peace negotiations with Kabul after more than 17 years of war.
The Taliban have claimed their representatives will visit Islamabad on Monday, after Salman leaves.