PM takes message to SAARC members of waging war on poverty: Mussadik

ISLAMABAD: Spokesperson to the Prime Minister Dr Mussadik Malik on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit with a message of waging war on poverty and squalor by urging the member states to forge strong economic and investment bondage’s.

Addressing a press conference here at the PM House, the spokesperson said that Pakistan’s foreign policy was based upon its internal policies of economic growth and stability.

“This is the message the Prime Minister is carrying with him to the SAARC Summit where he will goad the member states to wage war on poverty and squalor,” he added.

Dr Malik said in this context, the developments taking place in the region were significant, so the business and investment opportunities among the SAARC members should be strengthened through close liaison.

To a query, he said Pakistan wanted good relations with all its neighbors focusing primarily on trade and economic growth.

Referring to the Afghan President’s recent visit, Dr Malik said it created an opportunity for both the countries to boost economic ties.

With regard to India, the spokesperson said that Pakistan had taken steps to normalize ties with its neighbour, but pulling out from the dialogue process was her (India’s) unilateral decision.

“If they are willing to engage in negotiations, we would talk to them,” he said, making it clear that Pakistan would protect its borders at all costs.

Ruling out a scheduled bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SAARC Summit, the spokesperson said, “So far neither they have extended any invitation nor did we.”

To a question, he also highlighted the contours of Pakistan-US ties by saying that there was no change in the US policy.

The United States was Pakistan’s trading partner and doing business in the country, besides it was our partner in the war on terror, he added.

“Neither it had changed its policy towards Pakistan nor we have on our part. There is no lock, stock and barrel policy,” he said.

Dr Malik said that every country worked with others on the basis of its national interests. “The US prioritizes its policies for its future and we too prefer our policies keeping in view the future of our generations.”

Moreover, Pakistan had close cooperation and collaboration on military and other fronts, he added.

He explained that prior to the SAARC Summit, preparatory meetings were held by the government functionaries and Pakistan would present its recommendations under the guidelines of an integrated policy of development and economic growth.

About economic policies of the government, Dr Malik said that macroeconomic indicators had improved with discernable price fall in the daily edibles items.

He said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in October this year stood at 5.8 per cent while in the last year it was 9.1 per cent, whereas Food Price Index last year was 9.8 per cent and in October this year it was 5.2 per cent.

The inflation had been brought down and the Karachi stock market was showing bullish trend with index crossing 32,000 marks.

Expressing his optimism over launch of development projects, the spokesperson said that about $40 billion investment in the country was purely labour intensive, employing the skilled lot.

To a question regarding over-billing of electricity bills, he said that three different audit companies were hired to give their findings on the issue and afterwards, they would be able to fix responsibility.

About PTI’s announced sit-in on November 30, he said that the  authorities concerned would look into their application for venue.

He said the government would take all legal measures for the safety of people, properties and state institutions.

Source: APP