In yet another desperate attempt to revive its cash-strapped economy, Pakistan seems to have resorted to using belly dancers to woo investors from Azerbaijan.
Peshawar-based Sarhad Chamber of Commerce (SCCI) last week organised the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Investment Opportunities Conference in Azerbaijan's Baku, during which belly dancers performed on stage for the attendees. The conference took place between September 4 and 8, according to reports.
Videos of the belly dance performances from the conference – meant to attract investors to Pakistan – went viral on social media. Some Pakistani local media sites and twitterati called it the 'Naya Pakistan way', while some others compared the belly dancing to Pakistan exporting donkeys to China.
While the country is receiving heavy backlash on Twitter for resorting to such efforts, many are also in splits.
Pakistani columnist and human rights activist Gul Bukhari shared a video of a belly dancer performing on stage at the Pakistani conference in Baku.
Along with the video, she tweeted, "When General Doctrine Chief Economist tries to lure investors into the Pakistan Investment Promotion Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan with belly dancers...."
A Twitter user pointed out that while India is launching Moon missions like Chandrayaan-2, Pakistan is organising belly dancing to entice investors.
The Imran Khan government has been seeking financial aid from China, UAE and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a move to revive the country's economy which is in deep trouble. The UAE recently loaned $3 million to cash-strapped Pakistan to help the country with its failing economy.
Meanwhile, the IMF on Friday announced that it would be sending its SOS mission to Pakistan this month in order to give suggestions on how it can reduce the widening budget deficit faced by the country.
A loan of $6 billion was formally approved by the IMF to Pakistan as the country faces "significant" economic challenges due to "large" financial needs and "weak and unbalanced growth".
The IMF team is expected to visit Islamabad from September 16 to 20 and is likely to discuss fiscal issues with Pakistani authorities, according to media reports.
The global rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded Pakistan from B to B- with a stable outlook in the first week of February due to diminished growth prospects.