The Pakistan army took direct charge of the economy, indicating the role of the military

Signaling the crucial role of the powerful military in Pakistan, Army Chief General Asim Munir has set up a special Investment Facilitation Council, taking direct charge of the country’s economy, according to local sources.

The council will be based at Karachi Corps Headquarters. Sources said that on Tuesday evening, a lieutenant general-level officer briefed top business leaders and investors through a PowerPoint presentation. Army officials also promised a massive support structure to investors.

This ‘one-window, one-stop’, bureaucratic red tape-free operation was initially designated for Middle Eastern and Chinese investors. Army officials have now extended this to Pakistani investors to facilitate investment in corporate farming, mining, minerals and IT sectors.

Sources said they are expecting investments worth millions of dollars soon.

Wanting to get Pakistan out of the economic crisis, Munir is talking to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other friendly countries.

Munir had a four-hour marathon meeting with 50 prominent businessmen, including the President of Businessmen Group (BMG) Zubair Motiwala, the President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tariq Yousuf and the President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce Irfan Iqbal Sheikh. & Industries (FPCCI), last week.

The meeting followed a strike by traders on Saturday to protest against the rising cost of living, including high fuel and utility bills and the record depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar.

The army chief briefed the business community about his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had invited him to invest US$25 billion in Pakistan under the Special Investment Facility Council (SIFC), Dawn newspaper reported on Tuesday. Has assured to invest dollars.

At the same meeting, General Munir also “assured businessmen to bring investments worth US$25-30 billion from Qatar and Kuwait in his next visit.” In another report on Geo News website, FPCCI Chairman Shaikh said the Army Chief had told the business community that Saudi Arabia has assured Pakistan of investment in IT, minerals, agriculture and defence.

“COAS Munir requested to keep US$10 billion in State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). It will be returned in the form of Pakistani rupees or goods so that the foreign exchange can increase,” Sheikh was quoted as saying.

The army chief said he was counting on the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to “remove the bureaucratic hurdles” that the Saudi Crown Prince had identified as barriers to investment.