Amid concerns expressed by Pakistani business leaders about their country's economy, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked them to set their own house in order and open up trade with neighbouring India.
Clinton criticised Pakistan's low rate of tax collection and called for better management of the economy during an hour-long interaction with top business executives in Lahore yesterday.
"At the risk of sounding undiplomatic, Pakistan has to have internal investment in your public services and your business opportunities," Clinton told the gathering, referring to widespread tax evasion in a country that has been buffeted by serious economic problems.
"The percentage of taxes on GDP is among the lowest in the world... We (the US) tax everything that moves and doesn't move, and that's not what we see in Pakistan," she said.
"When we tell our taxpayers and (the US) Congress that we want to help Pakistan, they say: we want to help those who help themselves," she added.
Clinton said Pakistan's current population of 180 million is projected to rise to 300 million in future and there is a need for a coordinated approach to tackle upcoming challenges.