No political threat to govt: Khurram

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Allegations against PM are baseless; references will provide opportunity to prove innocence

ISLAMABAD, June 22 (APP): Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir
Khan on Wednesday said there was no political threat to the Pakistan
Muslim League-Nawz (PML-N) government.

Neither there was any difference in the party, nor any political threat to the government, he told a selected group of journalists here.

The minister said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who had undergone heart surgery in London, would come back home by the end of current month, if advised by his doctors.

The Prime Minister, he said, was in high spirits. He would visit the hospital again next week for checkup and take the decision
about his return to the country in light of the doctors’ advice.

Ahsan Iqbal rejected that there was any forward bloc of the party. “There is no forward bloc,” he remarked.

The minister said the country’s exports in terms of quantity had increased while due to depressive international markets the same had
decreased in terms of prices.

He said there would be no privatization of State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLIC) as there would be only divestment of
its shares. He, however, said,”We support SLIC’s privatization.”

The Commerce Minister said the government was planning to establish what he called a “complete trade infrastructure” at Torkhum and Chamman borders, which would start operating from the beginning of current financial year or in September -October this year.

“We are also preparing a work plan in this regard,” he added.

About free trade agreements (FTAs), Khurram Dastgir said the
government would finalize and sign FTAs with Turkey and Thailand this
year.

He would soon visit Russia to discuss modalities in trade with
Russain authorities as some bank-related issues had already been
resolved, he added.

The minister said work on FTA with China was in progress. Research
had already been conducted regarding its impact on Pakistan, which
would be shared with experts and media at a symposium to be held here next month, he added.

Replying to a question, he said the local auto industry had demanded to impose a ban on the imported cars, but the government had
no such plan.

The minister also called for modernization of truck industry.

Answering another query, he said the government was planning to
make Gilgit-Baltistan a tax free area. A food processing plant would be established near Gilgit, which would be benefit the local people, he
added.