Islamabad: October 13, 2016

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal arrived in Tokyo on a two day visit to participate in the World Marketing Summit (11-12 October). On the margins of the summit, the Minister also held meetings with Secretary General of Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Dr. Kanoktanaporn, Governor of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mr. Akira Kondoh, Chairman, Japan-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship League (JPPFL), Mr. Sheishiro ETO, with Japanese Business Corporations of global reach and also gave interview to the largest English weekly in Japan.

In his meetings and media interaction, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal stated that economic indicators of Pakistan have improved considerably over the last three years. The foreign exchange reserves have more than doubled from US$10 billion to US$23 billion and inflation remained lowest in South Asia. Government was able to bring down budget deficit to 4.7% of GDP. Morgan Stanley declared Pakistan as one of the promising emerging markets globally. Karachi Stock Exchange has been rated as one of the top three stock exchanges of Asia. He also stressed Pakistan's demographic dividend as over 2/3rd of its 200 million population is under 25 years of age.

The Minister apprised his interlocutors that the grand China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project has already taken off and bears immense potential for North-South and East-West connectivity of three billion strong regions of South Asia, China and Central Asia. He said that CPEC is not a bilateral project but it is an inclusive project where major economies from European Union, Middle East, America and Asia are also showing their interest to join in. He also invited Japan to take advantage of this opportunity and encouraged Japanese corporations to take advantage of projects in transport infrastructure and power generation on Independent Power Producers model. The Minister shunned off any apprehensions relating to security concerns about Pakistan and informed of sustainable successes in Security Operation, Zarb-e-Azb. When asked by Japanese media about the situation prevalent at LoC, the Minister reiterated Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif's vision of "Peaceful Neighbourhood". He stated that for development of people to take place peace in South Asia is a must. Discussing situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, he stated that the excesses committed by Indian Security Forces have resulted in death and injury to thousands of innocent Kashmiris and stressed that every man has the right to vote and Kashmiris have been promised this right by the international community under United Nations Security Council Resolutions and should be granted this right like people of Timor Leste and South Sudan before them. This will thoroughly discredit the narrative peddled by terrorists that the world doesn't care when it comes to the blood of Muslims.

Source: Info Pak

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