“Yes, the connectivity, we hope that when the Turkish delegation comes in a couple of weeks, we hope to involve them in using CPEC for further connectivity, and we hope to involve Turkey in this [CPEC],” the prime minister said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Islamabad. He also rejected the criticism of CPEC and brushed aside apprehensions about China’s debt. “The debt from China is a very small part, a small percentage of our total debt portfolio. So, the thing is quite unfounded that Pakistan is getting into a debt trap of China,” he clarified.
Imran Khan warned the international community that India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is preparing to repeat the Myanmar-style genocide and exclusion of its minority population. He said as many as 500 million people will be excluded from the citizenship list under India’s new controversial citizenship law, which is followed by updating the exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “This is exactly what happened in Myanmar when they first started the registration act and that’s how they excluded the Muslims and then the genocide took place. I am afraid this is where it is heading in India,” Khan said
Talking about the recent tension between US and Iran, Khan said tension still existed. But expressed satisfaction that war was averted in the region following diplomatic efforts. “We feel, we played our apart and brought down tensions. But of course, you know, there has to be some permanent solution,” he said.
While lamenting at the conflicts ragging the Islamic World, he said Pakistan’s utmost urgency will be to douse fires and bring parties to conciliation, so that countries can focus on developing their infrastructure.
He hoped that during the scheduled visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the middle of February, he was expecting to enhance trading partnership. “There are various areas where Turkey can help Pakistan for instance in mining. Pakistan is a country which is full of minerals, but we have not excavated explored minerals like gold and copper We want certain areas where we want technology. So, it will be quite a comprehensive visit,” he said.
The prime minister recalled that in 1920, people particularly Muslims in the Indian sub-continent had helped Turkey in its difficult times. He proposed to celebrate the 100th year of this generosity and relations between Turkey and Muslims of the subcontinent in 2020.
To a question that what has changed in last one-and-half year of PTI’s rule, the prime minister said, “Well, when my government came to power, we inherited two of the biggest deficits in Pakistan. One the fiscal deficit, which means what we were collecting in the form of tax and the gap in what we were spending. That was the biggest deficit. And the second deficit was the current account deficit. In other words, the dollar volume that is coming into Pakistan was small compared to the dollars going out of Pakistan. It was a huge, the biggest ever deficit in history. So, we had to take steps to stabilize our economy.”
“Because if you have a big current account deficit, it puts pressure on your currency. And our currency, our rupee was falling. It lost almost 35% of its value. And so, the first thing was to stabilize the currency. And for that, we had to contract this big deficit. So, I must congratulate my economic team, they did a great job,” he said.
“We have curtailed the current account deficit by almost 75%. The rupee has stabilized, confidence in our economy is growing, our stock market has gone up. We have a big jump in our foreign investment. So, the country is stable right now.
Now, it is a question of keeping it stable. You know, it is still a struggling head. But we are out of the big crisis which we had inherited,” he added.