Pakistan ‘out of woods’!

Achievements of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first official visit to China have been summed up by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi with encouraging remarks that the country was out of woods financially after the visit. And, in a related development, a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said a delegation comprising Federal Secretaries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Planning & Development and Commerce, along with the State Bank of Pakistan Governor, will visit China during the current week to work out modalities of a balance of payments support deal.
Though no figures were available to lend credibility to what the Foreign Minister said but the level of his confidence in talks already held with Chinese leaders and authorities concerned as well as scheduled visit of the delegation to discuss modalities for a package show that some understanding has been developed in principle. The urgency of talks also shows the country wants to finalise details with China before having substantial discussions with IMF for a bailout package. Otherwise too, the visit was highly productive in a sense that the two countries were able to forge consensus on expediting implementation of the on-going projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and in the next stage of CPEC will focus on industrial expansion, agricultural revitalisation and trade integration of the two economies. This phase will help the Government of Pakistan in achieving its objectives of job creation and export growth and in a way increase capability of the country to repay its loans.
Pakistan and China also signed 15 MoUs including the one on poverty alleviation and also sent a message to the outside world that they were moving towards an economic partnership. Pakistan is an agriculture-based country but unfortunately it has not yet been able to exploit its full agricultural potential. In this backdrop, the willingness of China to extend support in agriculture and transfer technology could help transform the sector on modern lines. The relevant ministries and departments should also aggressively work for realisation of objectives for which the MoUs have been signed.

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