Projects with ‘sizable’ investment under SIFC to be signed before elections: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Saturday said that projects with ‘sizable figure’ of investment under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) would be signed before end of the current caretaker setup.

“In the coming weeks, the nation will hear good news as we are soon going to Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and to other countries to sign Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) of the projects worth billions of dollars,” the prime minister said in an interview with a private news channel.

Pakistan and Kuwait will sign seven Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for investment worth $10 billion in Pakistan through seven projects in multiple fields including environment, mining and food security during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to Kuwait.

PM Kakar said SIFC was a fully professional initiative that was being run under best international practices. “I see a natural and organic growth in it.”

To a question, the prime minister explained that the investment never came so early. He said first the government had to pass through a negotiation process on bankable projects, then there came the feasibility stage, then MoUs are signed and then it transformed into tangible projects.

He said the SIFC had the institutional support, and changes of governments would not affect the progress of the projects under the Council.

PM Kakar said some segments were misleading the people that all the estimated investment amount worth $70 billion would at once be deposited in the Pakistani banks by the friendly countries.

To a query, the prime minister pointed out that the caretaker setup with the support of the state, had successfully halted the cross-border smuggling of dollars and other goods that would continue in future as well.

As regards upcoming general elections in the country, he said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was fully prepared to hold general elections on the given date. He said the caretaker government was also well aware of its role to assist the ECP in ensuring transparent and secure election process.

To a question about the security situation in the country, the prime minister maintained that there were serious security threats, especially in Balochistan which were expected to increase in the days to come. However, he said he did not want to relate these security concerns with elections.

To another question about complaints by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for not being given level playing fields for the election campaign, PM Kakar clarified that the government was not denying the field to any political party. “Normally, the political parties use multiple tactics to attract the sympathies of their voters, and the victim card is quite common among those tactics,” he said.

The prime minister said the government was neither discriminating any party nor giving undue favour to any other.

He said the caretaker government was not imposing restrictions to hold political rallies or gatherings in Islamabad or any other part of the country.

However, he said the caretakers were bound to restrict those involved in the 9th May incidents as per the law as their matter was under trial in the counts.

He said the basic role of the ECP is to give equal opportunities to all the political parties in general election.

As regards, the missing persons in Balochistan, the prime minister made it clear that no institution was involved in enforced disappearance in the country. He said the people involved in terrorism should be presented in the courts.

“Our view is that this is a campaign by some activists to malign the state institutions,” he added.

As regards trial of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Judicial Complex, the prime minister said the government would follow the court order in this regard.