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December 19, 2018

Nawaz, Zardari will spend 2019 in jail: Fawad

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December 19, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Information Minister, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, said on Tuesday former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari would spend 2019 in jail.

He said the government would recover the looted wealth from former finance minister Ishaq Dar, when he returns to Pakistan. "Ishaq Dar will return and the money he looted will be recovered. We are more eager for the money (he had taken along with him) than Dar," he said during his speech here at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). The minister said the politics of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari has come to an end. He said the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari would pass 2019 in jail due to their deeds. "We have attained our political destination, now we are going for our desired financial destination," he went to assert.

Fawad said the Opposition protests whenever the government talked about accountability. The “Opposition always remains angry with me, when I talk about corruption and accountability and like an angry bride, goes away, stages walk-out,” he quipped. The minister said that the United States of America expressed its gratitude to Pakistan for facilitating talks with the Afghan Taliban. "We are normalising our relations with the US," he said. Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the PTI government inherited a very weak economy, therefore, stabilising the economy is the key focus of the current government to put Pakistan on the path of sustainable growth. He said the government is facing no challenge on the political front, however, economy is its main challenge and the economic team of the government is working hard to enable Pakistan to stand on its own feet instead of depending on foreign borrowings. He said when PTI took over government, the country needed $12 billion to avoid default and with hectic efforts of the government Pakistan now has been saved from default.

He said the government's strategy is to promote exports, discourage imports, broaden tax net, curb money laundering and promote remittances through banking channels. He said Pakistan has the potential to receive $40 billion annual remittances and government is taking steps to encourage remittances through legal channels. He said the previous government spent $7 billion to keep rupee overvalued that brought destruction to the economy. He said due to clean governance of PTI government, Pakistan’s international perception was improving. He said the British Airways is returning to Pakistan, France has improved its travel advisory for Pakistan while Germany is also considering on the same lines. He said Pakistan’s relations with the EU and USA are improving. The information minister said the filing of tax returns had improved from around 1.1 million in 2017 to around 1.5 million in 2018. He said the government has signed $10 billion offshore gas pipeline deal with Russia while deal with Saudi Arabia for oil refinery has also been finalised.

Speaking at the occasion, Ahmed Hassan Mughal, President ICCI said the government should focus on highlighting Pakistan’s business and economic potential through media to attract the local and foreign investment. He said the government should organise specific programmes on the CPEC on TV and radio to create more awareness about the business and investment opportunities in the CPEC projects.

Rafat Farid, Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, Vice President said the government should cooperate with the ICCI for establishing a new industrial estate in Islamabad. Mian Akram Farid, Nasir Qureshi, Khalid Chaudhry, Khalid Mian, Mian Ramzan and others also highlighted various issues that needed the urgent attention of the government.

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