ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said Pakistan could learn more from China than any other developed country in the world to tackle the various socio-economic challenges it was facing including poverty and corruption.
“We have a lot to learn from China because China too went through a lot of problems that we face right now. China too had lot of corruption, poverty , but China had dealt with both. It is an example not only for Pakistan but for many other developing countries,” he said in an interview with Chinese media here.
The Prime Minister, who left on a four-day official visit to China said what he hoped to learn from meeting with Chinese leadership was how Pakistan could benefit from the Chinese experience, particularly in two fields including to tackle corruption and poverty alleviation.
He said that low crime was easy to check but tackling white collar crime needed specialty and expertise which Pakistan was struggling.
The Prime Minister said that since President Xi Jinping came to power, over 400 big names and powerful people have been convicted of corruption. “That is the number one area which I hope to learn when I am in China,” he added.
The Prime Minister said as the main plank of PTI’s manifesto was to bring people out of poverty it was one area where he looked forward to meeting with Chinese leadership and learn from all the steps taken to take people out of poverty .
He said with Pakistan having oldest relationship with China, it was the only friendly country in the world on whom people in Pakistan felt they could always depend in the hour of need.
“We have very special relations with China. The people of Pakistan have always looked upon China very positively as a friend,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had given a great opportunity to Pakistan to bring in foreign investment, to get out of the difficult economic situation it was facing.
He said as China was the fastest growing and second biggest economy in the world, Pakistan - which could not tap its true potential due to mismanagement, poor governance and corruption - could learn from China.
“Since China has recently developed, we can identify lot of problems that we are facing right now, and which China managed to remove and moved ahead. So we can learn more from China than any other country,” he maintained.
The Prime Minister said with first official visit to Saudi Arabia, it was his second official visit to any country and he was looking forward to it as he has only once been to China before and that was seven years back.
He said there were other things like urban development, pollution and so many things that Pakistan faced and could benefit from the Chinese experience, adding, China has developed very fast in the area of agriculture.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan could learn from China to raise its agricultural yields and help its farmers and remove rural poverty .
He said with Pak-China trade balance currently in favor of China, Pakistan wanted to get help from China for pushing the country's exports and address its one of the main problems of the current account deficit.
The Prime Minister described his visit to China as a great opportunity and said that Pakistan Pavilion at Shanghai International Import Expo would be exhibiting Pakistan's export items.
He said President Xi by inviting him at this time had enabled Pakistan to exhibit the items which it could export. “This is a great honor to be able to speak on this occasion as one of the chief guests,” he added.
The Prime Minister said with Pakistan and China both exporting textiles, Pakistan was hoping that it would be exporting value-added textiles. “We also have other exports including agricultural products, sports goods, surgical equipments, leather products,” he added.
The Prime Minister said CPEC was going in stages including roads, development of Gwadar, which was the second deepest port after Singapore, and some power projects that became part of CPEC.
“But now we really hope that CPEC would bring investment in Pakistan. We will have some technology transfer from China in the Special Economic Zones that will be able to attract industry, and will help augment our exports,” he said adding, since Pakistan’s main problem was declining exports, it really needed to push its exports and balance its current account deficit.
The Prime Minister said in the social sector Pakistan was also looking forward to affordable housing as one of the projects it hoped Chinese would bring investment besides cooperation in the areas of agriculture and technical education.
Similarly, he said as China was way ahead of many other countries in fisheries, it could help Pakistan which despite having 700 kilometers of coastline had not tapped the tremendous potential in that sector.
Talking about the economic challenges including the current account deficit and declining foreign exchange reserves, the Prime Minister said, his government was following a two-pronged strategy including approaching friendly countries for financial assistance and putting the option of IMF at the end to avoid the tough conditions of the Fund.
He said with Saudi Arabia being very generous, Pakistan had asked another friendly country the United Arab Emirates to help the country bolster its foreign exchange reserves. “With China we hope that this trip will help us,” he added.