Pakistan army vows to assist government in foreign investments, curbing ‘illegal activities’ harming economy 

Pakistan army chief General Asim Munir is addressing the 259th Corps Commanders' Conference (CCC) at General Head Quarter in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on September 7, 2023. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Army)
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  • Pakistan launched a crackdown against hoarding of US dollars, smuggling, and crime cartels this week 
  • Pakistan Army’s leadership says all ‘terrorists, their facilitators, and abettors’ will be dealt with full might of the state

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army’s top leadership on Thursday vowed to assist the government in foreign investments and its crackdown against “illegal activities” hampering economic growth and stability, a statement from the army’s media wing said. 

With Pakistan’s economy in a tailspin amid staggering inflation, a weak currency, and depleting foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan’s army chief last week met leading business figures in Karachi and Lahore to address their concerns. 

The government this week launched a crackdown against currency smugglers, hoarders, and black marketers, resulting in a marked appreciation of the rupee in the open market. After the clampdown, the rupee gained 0.7 percent in the last three trading sessions to close at Rs304.94 against the dollar on Thursday in the interbank market. In the open market, the rupee appreciated around 7 percent since September 4 to close at Rs307. 

“The forum reiterated to continue full support of ongoing efforts in uplifting the socioeconomic growth under the umbrella of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC),” a statement from the army’s media wing, following the 259th Corps Commanders’ Conference at the army headquarters, said. The meeting was chaired by the army chief. 

“And wholeheartedly assisting the government in curbing all illegal activities which hamper economic stability, growth and investors’ confidence.”

In June, the outgoing government of former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif established the SIFC, a hybrid civil-military body to attract international investments in Pakistan’s mining, agriculture, minerals, and other sectors. 

On Monday, Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar told foreign media representatives that Saudi Arabia and the UAE would invest $25 billion each within two to five years in various projects under the SIFC’s umbrella. 

During the meeting, the army’s leadership was also briefed about Pakistan’s geo-strategic environment and the challenges to the country’s national security.

“Forum resolved that all terrorists, their facilitators, and abettors, working on the behest of hostile forces to destabilize Pakistan, will be dealt with the full might of the state,” the statement added. 

The response from the army leadership comes a day after a group of militants launched an attack on two security checkposts in Pakistan’s northern Chitral district. The military said four soldiers and 12 militants were killed during the exchange of fire in the attack which was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. 

The army had urged the Afghan government to deny refuge to militants who perpetuate “acts of terrorism“