‘There will be no NRO’, PM Imran Khan tells PPP, PML-N

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday conveyed to the two major opposition parties, whose leaders have been facing corruption references, that they will not be given any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

Khan said so while addressing the nation in order to take the people into confidence over his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s political and economic situation.

The prime minister vowed to continue the fight against corruption alleging that Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz wanted to get an NRO.

He stated that his government will not give any NRO to these parties.

“If these two parties want to take to streets, then they should go ahead with it,” Khan said, promising to provide them containers for camping out.

“Get this loud and clear, there will be no NRO. I will not spare any corrupt individual,” he said.

The prime minister lamented that billions of rupees were being found in the fake account of an ice-cream vendor.

“Where is this coming from? How will we return the loans?” he said, vowing to uproot corruption at all cost.

“Do what you want, I am again stating that everyone will be held accountable,” Khan said. “We have not yet registered any case against anyone, but efforts are being made to blackmail us.”

‘Pakistan to act as mediator in Yemen war’

The prime minister said that Pakistan will act as a mediator in the war between Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia-led alliance in Yemen.

He said he will try to get Muslim countries together, besides acting as a “mediator” in resolution of conflicts between Muslim countries.

“We are trying our best to act as a mediator to resolve the Yemen crisis,” the prime minister said.

‘Saudi assistance to help Pakistan reduce IMF burden’

He said the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia has lessened the financial burden on Pakistan, adding that they were thankful to Riyadh for helping them in a difficult time.

“We were trying to get loans from our friendly nations so we rely less and less on IMF,” the prime minister said in his address. “We are also in talks with other friendly countries.”

He said he was hoping to give the nation more good news in the coming days.

Future prospects

Urging the masses not worry, he said that countries do face difficult time, but corruption has been reduced in Pakistan and it would further come down.

The prime minister said he was himself overseeing affairs with regard to putting an end to money laundering.

He vowed to increase exports of the country and to roll out a special package to reduce poverty in the country in the day to come.

Khan said they will bring foreign investment in housing sector, which would create jobs in Pakistan.

He noted that Pakistan Railways, PIA and other state entities were incurring financial losses, but promised to streamline all such state-run enterprises.

Saudi assistance

On Tuesday, the government struck a deal for a 12-month balance of payments lifeline with Saudi Arabia, which will deposit $3 billion with Pakistan’s central bank and provide a matching one-year deferred payment facility for oil imports.

According to a government statement, the visit by the premier to the kingdom resulted in significant understandings between the two countries.

Far-reaching decisions on bilateral economic and financial cooperation were also agreed during the meetings with Saudi leadership, it said.

“It was agreed that Saudi Arabia will place a deposit of USD 3 Billion for a period of one year as balance of payment support,” the statement said.

“It was also agreed that a one year deferred payment facility for import of oil, up to USD 3 Billion, will be provided by Saudi Arabia. This arrangement will be in place for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter.”

On his visit, the prime minister met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and attended the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference where he launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

Stocks climb

Hours after news of the $6 billion Saudi Arabia financial deal, Pakistani stocks climbed by more than four percent—the highest single day rise since June 2017.

The development also prompted the US dollar to drop by Rs1.89 or 1.4 percent against the Pakistani rupee in the interbank market, and by Rs 2. the open market.

Experts say the dip is likely to help reduce the burden on loans by Rs 179 billion for the Pakistani government.

Imran Khan’s government has also entered talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it seeks a potential bailout package to stem its balance of payment and current account deficits.

Analysts say the Saudi relief package will likely lessen the amount of funds the country will need to secure from the IMF.

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