August 29, 2018 / 6:48 AM / 4 months ago

New PM Khan to skip U.N. General Assembly to focus on Pakistan economy

Imran Khan (C), chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party speaks after he was elected as Prime Minister at the National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) in Islamabad, Pakistan August 17, 2018. National Assembly Handout via REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan will skip next month’s United Nations General Assembly session to focus his attention on the country’s economy, said his foreign minister.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will head the Pakistani delegation at 73rd U.N. General Assembly session set to open on September 18.

“No, the prime minister is not going. I will lead Pakistani delegation,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Tuesday evening.

There was a debate in Pakistan whether the new prime minister would attend the U.N. session or stay home as part of his austerity drive and focus on economic issues.

“The prime minister of Pakistan thinks that the present situation in country needs attention,” Qureshi told the media.

He said Khan wants to focus on his new government, sworn in earlier this month, and a looming currency crisis which threatens to derail the fast-growing economy.

Pakistan’s economy expanded at 5.8 percent in the last fiscal year, its quickest pace in 13 years, but the rupee currency has been devalued four times since December. Interest rates have been raised three times.

Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Michael Perry

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