ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Friday that the government has given a new direction to the country’s foreign policy, from geopolitics to geoeconomics for the welfare of the people.
“The economy of the country is now touching a growth rate of 5.37%, regardless of the contraction caused by Covid-19 to the international economies. According to a survey by the World Bank, our agricultural sector is growing at 3.3 %,” Qureshi said during a speech to the National Assembly.
He said the country’s exports and remittances were at record highs and statistics showed that per capita income was also rising, Radio Pakistan reported.
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The foreign minister said that regardless of the gas shortage, urea production had seen an increase. He said the government was supplying urea to farmers at far lower rates than the international market. Qureshi said action would be taken against those hoarding the merchandise.
He admitted that inflation posed a major challenge. However, FM said, there were several international factors behind this, including an increase in the price of gas and petroleum products in world markets.
FM Qureshi said: “We welcome criticism from opposition parties, but they should not sow discouragement among the people as it is not in the interest of the country. We have taken painful decisions to stabilize the economy.
Energy Minister Hammad Azhar has stated categorically that gas theft will not be tolerated in any part of the country.
Responding to an attention notice in the AN, he said he was pleased that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited had significantly reduced its system losses from 12.5% to 8.5% over the past three years.
“There is a need for further improvements at the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited,” Azhar said, noting that the country’s gas reserves are being depleted at the rate of 9 percent per year.
Azhar introduced the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Amendment Bill, 2022 to the House.
The House today passed two resolutions extending the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) Amendment Order 2021 and the Rehmatul Lil Alameen National Authority Order 2021 for a further period of 120 days.
The federal government’s statement of contingent liabilities for the current fiscal year has been tabled in the House. The annual reports of the Council of Islamic Ideology for the period 2012-2018 and the report on Islamic inheritance law were also tabled in the House.
The NA also adopted a motion, presented by FM Qureshi, authorizing the use of its hall for the 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in March.
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Initially, the house offered fatha for the martyrs of yesterday’s bomb attack in Lahore.
Ahsan Iqbal criticizes economic policies
Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ahsan Iqbal also criticized the government’s economic policy.
Responding to his arguments, Energy Minister Azhar said that the Pakistani government Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) had pulled the country out of a difficult economic situation. He said the previous government left behind a bankrupt economy.
Azhar said the government’s growth rate of around 5.4 percent was based on improving exports and revenue collection, increasing foreign exchange reserves and reducing the current account deficit. He said global institutions appreciate Pakistan’s economic prospects.
The house was later extended.