Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa is reported to be a part of the Pakistan delegation during Pakistan PM Imran Khan's bilateral visit to China on October 8-9, further stirring speculations of a soft coup in the country.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister of Railways, Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum, Chairman BOI and senior officials. The Chief of Army Staff will join the Prime Minister's meetings with Premier Li Keqiang and (China) President Xi Jinping," the official statement read.
The reports of Gen Bajwa's attendance comes after the Pakistan Army chief held a closed-door meeting with top business tycoons in Pakistan's Rawalpindi, the Army headquarters to address the country's crippling economy. "National security is intimately linked to the economy while prosperity is a function of balance in security needs and economic growth," Gen Bajwa, who is also part of the National Development Council, told the audience.
Army chief has been taking a keen interest in the revival of the economy after apparent failure of the Imran Khan government to deliver on the economic front even after one year in power Gen Bajwa was appointed as a member of the high-powered National Development Council, put in place in July to set Pakistan's long-term economic plan.
In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) formally approved a USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan, which is facing significant economic challenges on the back of large fiscal and financial needs and weak and unbalanced growth Cash-strapped Pakistan has also received billions of dollars in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent months.
According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, Pakistan's economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 percent in the fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2 percent set in last year's budget. "Accessibility and responsiveness of the government economic team to the business community and the displayed understanding between public and private institutions is a good sign for the desired positive trajectory in economic activity," Gen Bajwa said.
Pakistan has been facing the heat of FATF over terror financing, the international finance body also released its report, concluding that the Islamabad has failed to sufficient action against terrorists in the light of UN sanctions. In its latest 228-page report on Pakistan titled, "Mutual Evaluation Report 2019", the APG stated that Pakistan has not taken adequate measures to fully implement UNSCR 1267 obligations against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and other individuals associated with LeT, JuD, FIF, and other terror groups.
(With PTI inputs)