LAHORE, Dec 26 (APP): Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Saturday said the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan last Friday was a goodwill gesture.

Responding to the mediamen queries after addressing the passing out ceremony of Probationary Officers of the FBR here, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi came here to pay greeting and best wishes to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

To a question, Ishaq Dar said Narendra Modi’s visit was not pre-planned as he telephoned his Pakistani counterpart yesterday (Friday last), and expressed his wish to pay him birthday greetings personally in Pakistan by making a stopover in Lahore on his way from Kabul to New Delhi.

To another query, the Federal Finance Minister said today Pakistan was better and sound economically than what it was in 2013, when PML-N came into power. “Insha Allah, Pakistan will be much stronger by all aspects in 2018,” he added.

The global institutions, which in the past, had been predicting Pakistan to be declared as bankrupt state but today all of them were appreciating our economic developments, he said, asserting that the countries which had stopped trading with Pakistan now restored their business keeping in view the improved economic indicators of Pakistan.

He added that today Pakistan’s GDP growth rate was the highest in the SARRC region while annual tax collection growth reached up to 16.5 percent from mere three percent in the past.

Ishaq Dar said the PML-N government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was committed to turn Pakistan much stronger, economically sound, more peaceful and beautiful.

“We want to give a much better and different Pakistan to the masses in 2018 for which everyone will have to play his due role to achieve these goals,” he vowed.