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Pakistan president calls for respect of public mandate amid rigging allegation

Pakistan president calls for respect of public mandate amid rigging allegation

 

By The South Asia Times 

Islamabad, 19 February 2024: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that political inclusion is imperative for financial inclusion to put the country on the path of progress and prosperity. He hailed millions of young voters who had expressed their confidence in the democratic system. He added that if their confidence in the system was shaken, it would not be in the country’s interest, and called for respecting the mandate of the people. He maintained that the blockage of social media websites in Pakistan was due to the lack of intellectual capacity to handle criticism. He also lamented that capable people were being kicked out of politics.

 

The President gave these remarks while addressing the third edition of Hosting Business Net 2024, a platform to promote financial inclusion and digital transformation and recognize the contributions of companies working in this sector. The ceremony was attended by members of the business and diplomatic community. 

 

Speaking on the occasion, the President called for enhancing the inclusion of deprived sections of society, especially women and persons with disabilities, in the mainstream of the economy through the digital transformation of the financial sector for socio-economic development. He said that financial inclusion was not possible without political inclusion of the people as excluding them from the development process could have repercussions for the country.

 

Expressing concern over the slow decision-making and lack of leadership in the country, the President said that Pakistan needed good leadership and timely decision-making to put it on the path of progress and prosperity. He remarked that Pakistani people were a vibrant nation that had been blessed with abundant natural resources, adding that Pakistan needed to invest in their intellectual development and capacity building.

 

The President highlighted that Pakistan could not progress without the inclusion of 26.2 million out-of-school children in the education system. He stated that educating such a large portion of our population would require thousands of new schools and additional resources. “If left unaddressed, Pakistan would export raw labour without any value-addition”, he added. He cited the example of China which had lifted millions of its people out of poverty by investing in their education and health. 

 

The President said that technology could have been utilized to grant the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis through internet voting (i-voting) as well as bring improvements in the electoral process through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). He regretted that i-voting and EVMs could not be introduced due to vested interests. 

 

The President highlighted the need for setting priorities for the country, making good decisions and efficiently utilizing its human resources for progress of the country. He said that the low tax-to-GDP ratio was a perennial problem in Pakistan, adding that overcoming this issue would help reduce Pakistan’s reliance on foreign loans. 

 

The President said that banks were offering business loans for women on easy terms and conditions, however, there was a lack of awareness about micro-credit facilities for women. He urged the banks to enhance their outreach by introducing cashless banking in far-flung areas through customized products and services.

 

CEO of Transforming Hub, Mr Iftikhar Hussain, highlighted that BizNet was an ecosystem that had brought together the best minds by promoting increased collaboration, commitment and innovation. He underlined the pivotal role played by the banking sector in adopting the latest financial solutions paving the way for user-friendly banking transactions. 

 

Speaking on the occasion, CEO of Airlinks Communication, Mr Muzaffar Piracha, apprised the audience that digitization of the economy was the first step towards financial inclusion which was not possible without advancements in the mobile industry. 

 

Chief Digital Officer of Jazz, Mr Aamir Aijaz, said that Pakistan had a large undocumented economy that was undermining the whole financial system as businesses/transactions were not registered. Financial inclusion through formal banking channels and proper payment mechanisms (gateways) could effectively address such issues and empower people particularly women at the grassroots level, he added. 

 

Earlier, the President also gave away shields to companies in recognition of their services for enhancing financial inclusion through technological and digital transformation. 

 

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