PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Sunday tried to assuage apprehensions of the business community by making an announcement about launching of a new economic road map envisaging a strategy to overcome challenges and reset the country on the path to progress in the next six to nine months. Talking to members of the trading community in Karachi, he rightly pointed out that the country was not deficient in anything and the only thing it needed was an investor-friendly environment.
The economy of the country was surely in a shambles mainly due to political instability during the last two years and, therefore, it is understandable that it should be the number one priority of the incumbent government. Immediate financial woes of the country have been taken care of – thanks to the timely assistance by Saudi Arabia and commitments made by China and United Arab Emirates to invest aggressively in different sectors of Pakistan’s economy. However, the Government has yet to take medium and long-term measures to stabilize the economy and address the state of uncertainty and confusion. Only investment can ensure increased production and surplus for exports but investors are not getting the right kind of message due to nose-dive in stock market index, massive devaluation of rupee, unending judicial and NAB interventions into on-going and completed development projects and harassment of investors. A case in point is the daily protest being lodged by contractors, suppliers, residents, employees and investors of Bahria Town Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi against demolition of built up properties and facilities. The crisis has also disrupted the flow of finances and as a consequence employees are not getting their salaries and contractors not receiving their dues. Bahria Town, with sheer dint of hard work and innovation, earned reputation as provider of best quality housing and living environment and instead of appreciating its efforts in this regard it is being penalized unnecessarily even when Malik Riaz has offered to pay compensation for any illegally built facility. Action against Bahria Town has shaken confidence of the entire real estate sector and investors and the issue needs to be resolved amicably at the earliest. Same is the case with owners of marquees and marriage halls as their demolition has made people think hundred times before making any investment. We hope the Prime Minister would ask relevant authorities to do away with these and similar other contradictions in economic policies.