Pakistan will learn from China: PM Imran Khan on fighting against poverty

New Delhi:  Cash-strapped country Pakistan will imitate China to fight against their poverty and revamp the standard of living.

Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan visited China earlier in November amid a possible cash crunch in the country. He is looking to steer his country out of a possible debt crisis and has approached the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

“My government would soon introduce a poverty alleviation package for the first time in the country’s history to pull the poor people out of the poverty,” said Khan after inaugurating a shelter home in Lahore.

Addressing a ceremony to inaugurate a shelter home in Pakistan’s Lahore, the PM said China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty during last three decades which is an unprecedented achievement in the history of the world and “Pakistan will learn from it.”

China has reportedly agreed to give $6 billion in aid to cash-strapped Pakistan to minimise its dependence on the IMF bailout after Khan met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this month.

Khan’s is planning to launch anti-poverty programmes come at a time when the country is facing a possible cash crunch, though it has several options now. A Saudi Arabian offer of a $6 billion rescue package is in the pipeline. Khan also said that his country is in talks with two other “friendly nations” for more loans.

According to Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2018, a quarter of the country’s total population of over 207 million is living below the poverty line. Poverty, hunger and unemployment afflict a big section of the Pakistani population, the report said.

Pakistan’s debt problem is also reportedly linked to the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, as it is concerned over heavy Chinese loans under the CPEC project which, it fears, could push the country into a debt trap.

In October, Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid announced a cut in the cost of a railway project under the CPEC from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion, saying Pakistan cannot afford huge loans. In September, the cash-starved Pak government sold bulletproof luxury vehicles, helicopters, and eight buffaloes to overcome huge debts.

(With inputs from Agencies)