Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was urged to mend ties with neighbouring countries including India in a bid to improve the country’s economy.

The suggestion was floated by a top business leader of the country at a ceremony attended by the premier during his day-long visit to Karachi on Wednesday.

Pakistan downgraded its ties including suspended trade relations with India after the Modi-led government unilaterally changed the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in August 2019 — the decision that Islamabad believed undermined the environment for holding talks between the neighbours.

Pakistan has linked its decision to normalising ties with India with the restoration of the special status of IIOJK.

During a Q&A session, business tycoon Arif Habib appreciated PM Shehbaz’s efforts during his previous stint in securing the bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Referring to the PM’s meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in June last year, the owner of a top brokerage firm suggested the premier “shake two more hands” — one with the neighbouring country including India and another with the PTI founder in a bid to ensure stability in the country.

“[…] secondly, you should also shake hands with an inmate of Adiala jail. I think these two steps will yield positive results,” he remarked.

The PTI founder remains behind bars after he was booked in range of cases containing criminal charges including the Official Secrets Act, terrorism, corruption and others.

Khan, the deposed prime minister, was ousted from power via the opposition’s no-confidence motion in April 2022. However, the PTI alleged that Khan’s removal was orchestrated by the United States by supporting the opposition’s no-trust motion.

The PTI founder was arrested in August last year after he was sentenced in the Toshakhana case. Later, he was convicted in cipher and un-Islamic marriage cases as well wherein his appeals are currently pending before the respective courts.

PM meets Sindh CM

Earlier today, PM Shehbaz assured Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of the federal government’s full support in resolving issues raised by the provincial authorities.

“We will work together like brothers, like a team in the interest of the people of Pakistan,” said the premier while chairing a meeting at the CM’s House.

The prime minister added that working together is the only option for the sake of progress and prosperity and that they will make no compromises on this.

PM Shehbaz told CM Murad he is present at his “beck and call”.

The premier’s assurance came after the provincial chief minister lamented the lack of support from the Centre regarding Sindh’s inclusion in new development schemes.

“In the last four years, the federation ignored Sindh in new schemes,” the chief minister said briefing PM Shehbaz in Karachi today.

Various matters were discussed during a meeting chaired by the premier, which was held following his arrival to the port city for a day-long visit after being elected as premier for the second time.

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