Prime Minister Imran Khan was invited to give a speech at NUST Islamabad today. Addressing the students and faculty, PM Khan stated that he primarily wanted to address the biggest problem of Pakistan. “Our biggest problem is the mindset,” stated Khan. “Change (tabdeeli) first comes from within. It is integral to change one’s mindset before the nation itself can change.” said the PM.
PM Khan claims Pakistan’s vision is blurred
“The way our government functions, there is absolutely no connection of where Pakistan is going to go with the roles of the governmental institutions. What is their relationship at all?” asked Khan.
“This relation is all fractured, and the biggest reason for this is that when a nation adopts a vision, and thinks about where it is that it wants to go, that vision should never be blurred. Unfortunately, there is no clarity to our vision. As long as our vision lacks clarity, so does our government and its relevant institutions,” added Khan.
Khan addresses import – export gap
“Our biggest problem right now, from the point where I came into office two years ago, is that no government can move forward if it’s imports are at 60 billion dollars while its exports are at 20 billion dollars.
In fact, our exports reduced from 25 billion dollars to 20 billion dollars – this is even less than before.” criticised the prime minister. Khan further added that no country in the world could prosper with a “40 billion dollar gap” between its imports and exports whilst reflecting upon the importance of exports for any given nation.
“We cannot be prosperous unless wealth is being generated,” reminded PM Khan. “When more dollars are going out and much fewer coming in, the country can be neither wealthy nor stable. We have to go to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) every now and then!” said Khan.
The prime minister further addressed that if our dollars finish, so will our reserves, and this will only cause our currency to depreciate. “When our currency depreciates, everything will become expensive. We import Oil and Gas. All these commodities will become expensive and the country will be forced into poverty.” Khan continued that in order to flourish economically, the bottom line was that more dollars need to come in than go out.
Khan recognises China and Turkey for economic stability
PM Khan proceeded to cite examples of China and Turkey, stating that both are so economically forward because their governments prioritised exports. “Why is China so ahead?” asked Khan.
“As they exceeded their exports, their wealth started increasing as well. When Erdogan came into office, Turkey was much the same as Pakistan is right now. Erdogan too had to go to the IMF regularly and this is why democracy also suffered. He brought change by increasing the country’s exports. I listened to his speeches myself,” claimed Khan. “He would say he had three priorities; Exports, exports and exports.”
Khan urges the defence sector to merge with the private sector
The prime minister then recalled the era of the 60s, acknowledging how Pakistan was at its peak in terms of industrialisation and exports. “Yet, in the 70s, we adopted a confused socialist mindset.” said Khan.
“If a country can develop nuclear technology, other endeavours and innovations should be very easy for it. However, our defence sector in its creation of nuclear technology was not linked to the private sector at all.” Khan then commented on how this was not the case in the USA, where the defence sector was in fact connected to the private sector.
“There are no linkages with academia either” commented Khan. “This is not the case with the rest of the world. Oxford university has its connections with a range of colleges and firms. Here (in Pakistan) we produce graduates only to have them unemployed” claimed PM Khan whilst addressing the students and teaching faculty at NUST.
PM Khan stresses value addition
“Like Fawad Chaudhry said, a country can never, just by selling cotton and other primary products to rise above poverty” said Khan. “Only when a country adds value to its products can it prosper and develop. If a small country like Singapore has more exports than 300 Arab dollars, and us Pakistanis, with a population of 22 crore have a mere amount of 25 Arab dollars worth of exports then this only shows how Pakistan is headed towards the wrong direction” continued the PM.
“In order to fix this direction, we must first fix our mindset. We need to tell our government departments to help and aid whoever wants to increase the wealth of the nation, and whoever wants to industrialise and grow. We need to get rid of this socialist mindset,” stated Khan, who criticised how profit making was considered to be a crime in Pakistan.
Khan proceeded to recall the 70s, “I still remember, the politicians of the 70s would start their speeches criticising the businessmen and industrialists. If there is no industrialism and no investment, how will the country move forward?” asked Khan.
“Pakistan’s biggest assets are our overseas Pakistanis,” he said.