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‘Feel Ashamed’: PM Shehbaz on Bangladesh’s Economic Boom as Pak Business Leaders urge for India Trade Talks

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KARACHI : Pakistan‘s economy is grappling with a severe crisis, marked by inflation exceeding 29% in the last fiscal year. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who assumed office for a second term amidst economic and political turmoil, attended a conference with business leaders on Wednesday, where he was urged to initiate trade talks with India as a measure to alleviate the crisis-hit economy.

During the conference, PM Sharif also commented on Bangladesh’s economic progress, saying that the country, formerly known as ‘East Pakistan’ and once considered a burden on West Pakistan, now enjoys better economic stability than his own country.

The government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif aims to secure another staff-level agreement on a new long-term, larger loan with the International Monetary Fund by early July. This initiative is intended to address inflation and stabilize the economy.

On Pakistan’s trade talks with India

Pakistan and India’s trade talks nosedived when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy. Pakistan has also cut off direct trade ties with India.’

At the conference, the country’s newspaper Dawn reported, there was a sense of concern among business leaders over the political situation in the country, especially after PTI Chief Imran Khan was arrested. 

They asked the prime minister to initiate the trade talks with India, the report added.

“I suggest you do a few more handshakes. One of them is regarding trade with India, which would greatly benefit our economy. Secondly, you should also (patch up) with a resident of Adiala Jail (a reference to jailed PTI leader Imran Khan). Try to fix things at that level as well and I believe that you can do it,” Arif Habib, the chief of Arif Habib Group – was quoted as telling the Prime Minister.

On Bangladesh Economy

During an interactive session at the business conference, in a veiled reference to the booming economy of Bangladesh, PM Sharif said, “I was quite young when… we were told that it’s a burden on our shoulders…Today you all know where that ‘burden’ has reached (in terms of economic growth).” “And we feel ashamed when we look towards them,” he added.

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