DUBAI // The former Pakistan prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Muslim League, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has called on Pakistani businessmen in the UAE to invest in their home country's economy.
Addressing delegates at the first session of the PMLN Overseas Business and Professionals Forum in Dubai last night, he said overseas businessmen were the true ambassadors of the country.
"You have brought great name to the country through your hard work and success," he said. "So many people from my own country are doing so well here. Your contribution is immense."
He said the country was facing many challenges and the economy was not in good shape. "Growth rate has slowed down and the inflation has increased. Unemployment is growing. Economy is on decline."
He told the potential investors that the financial prospects of Pakistan were much brighter when he was running the country.
"There was no load shedding and the country was selling surplus power to India. The currency was stronger and reforms yielder results. There were no bomb blasts or terrorist activities. The then prime minister of India, PV Narasimha Rao, too praised our reforms and tried to implement them in India."
Speaking at the Atlantis Hotel, the Palm, he urged businessmen in the UAE to invest in Pakistan and to play an active part in its development.
The PMLN Overseas Business and Professionals Forum was recently formed to reach out to Pakistani Diaspora around the world and encourage them to play a meaningful role in their country's development.
The event was organised by Javed Malik, a special adviser to Mr Sharif on international affairs.
A number of distinguished Pakistani businessmen and professionals, including, doctors, architects and other highly placed professionals living in the UAE and GCC region, as well as friends of Pakistan including UAE nationals attended the forum.
"The PMLN Pakistanis living abroad are an asset for Pakistan, and they have always been willing and able to play a meaningful role in progress and development of their country," Mr Sharif said.
Mr Malik said that the creation the PMLN Overseas Forum also aims at providing a platform that enabled Pakistanis living abroad to contribute towards their country.
"The distinguished Pakistanis living abroad can also play a vital role to be a bridge between the countries of their residence and Pakistan and contribute towards expansion of business, trade and cultural relations. They can build goodwill and friendship between Pakistan and the world community through public and cultural diplomacy initiatives," Mr Malik said.
Mr Sharif was twice elected as prime minister, serving two non-consecutive terms, the first from November 1, 1990 to July 18, 1993 and the second from February 17, 1997 to October 12, 1999.
He is best known internationally for ordering Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests in response to India's nuclear tests, and the abrupt end of his final term in a dramatic coup by General Pervez Musharraf.