APP71-21 WASHINGTON DC: April 21 - Federal Minister for Finance & Economic Affairs Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar delivering a keynote address at the Heritage Foundation on the topic ‘Pakistan’s Economic Reforms. APP

ISLAMABAD, April 21 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Thursday stressed upon the global community, particularly United States (US) to help resolve Kashmir issue for lasting peace in the region, which would benefit half of the World’s population.
“I think for the regional peace, the global community has a responsibility to work on the flash issue of the region and that is resolution of Kashmir issue,” he speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington said.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Pakistan’s Economic Reforms: Its Quest for Investment, Prospects for Development, and Social Change’. The programme was hosted by Director Asian Studies Walter Lohman.
Dar said resolution of Kashmir issue was outstanding for decades now and informed the audience about the current situation going on in Indian occupied Kashmir for last several months.
He said the resolution of this issue would bring regional and the spendings on defence could be utilized for social development.
On Afghanistan issue, he said peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan, expressing the hope for peaceful political solution of Afghanistan problem.
He said there was no second thought that Pakistan had been part of
global efforts.
Dar said any country that suffered most on account of terrorism was
Pakistan. Pakistan lost 35000 lives including 6000 armed forces and had 40,000 to 50,000 injured, adding it had to bear financial and economic loss of US$110.
“This is the huge loss on any country on globe,” he remarked and
deplored that some vested interests had been pointing fingers on Pakistan, which was regrettable.
Finance Minister Mohamamd Ishaq Dar said Pakistan had been looking forward to work with new administration of the US.
He said it had been great partnership in the past and we would be
able to work together and further enhance economic, defence and bilateral ties.
Talking about the economic stability of Pakistan, he said the country
was moving ahead as it introduced deep structural reforms by cutting expenditures and bringing about economic stability.
He said earlier, Pakistan was called the country of two tranches,
however it was first time in the history that it completed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme by managing successfully all the twelve levels of the structural reforms.
He said the global ratings for Pakistan had also moved from Negative to Stable and then to Positive and from C and B.
He said Pakistan was declared second choicest place for investment.
He said merger of all stock exchange into Pakistan Stock Exchanges
had also helped it to become one of the best performing exchanges of the world and improved prospects for Pakistan becoming Asian Tiger.
The minister said the tax to GDP had improved to 13% while the GDP
had increased from 4.7 to 5 percent plus.
However, he refuted the concept that the growth was due to China
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
He said CPEC was just $46 billion project, and most of the projects
under it were energy sector project with private sector.
He said he would welcome America and other countries’ auto brands
in the country.
Dar said Pakistan offered best offers low cost of production adding
China was de-locating its plants due to high cost of production and Pakistan could become destination for those plants.
He said regional connectivity was the key to progress and prosperity so
the projects like CPEC, TAPI and CASA-1000 project would help regional connectivity which would lead the region towards progress and prosperity.
Talking about the financial inclusion, Dar said by 2020 about 50%
of the country’s population would be included in financial inclusion programme.
He said after 19 years the population census was taking place in the country.
He said it was planned in 2016, however due to engagements of armed
forces had to delayed for a year.
To a question, the minister said Pakistan nuclear assets were in safe hands, saying these assets were as safe in Pakistan as safe in any part of the world or in the US.
To another question on Indian spy he said council access was not allowed in charge of treason, however added all legal assistance was allowed.