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April 10, 2019

Other institutions need to play role: ‘Only Imran not responsible for rooting out corruption’

Top Story

April 10, 2019

Highlights

  • Corruption was not Imran Khan’s responsibility only and other institutions were also responsible for fighting the menace, says Fawad
  • Fawad says PTI's stance regarding corruption and accountability is very clear, as no one, who had looted the wealth of Pakistan, would be given clemency
  • The cabinet has approved the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA) and initially 135,000 apartments would be constructed

ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said had there been monarchy or dictatorship in Pakistan, some 200 people would have been hung in a hotel and looted money recovered, but the government had to act upon the law and Constitution.

Briefing media persons about the federal cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the minister emphasised that combating corruption was not Imran Khan’s responsibility only and other institutions were also responsible for fighting the menace. He said the government was not asking Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari to surrender their own money, but the wealth of the nation, which they had plundered, should be returned and $8-10 billion would work for the government. He reiterated that the PTI's stance was very clear regarding corruption and accountability, as no one, who had looted the wealth of Pakistan, would be given clemency.

Referring to the NAB and media, he said that startling revelations were coming up regarding the corruption of the Sharif family and alleged that many prominent PML-N leaders, including Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal and others were involved in mega corruption.

He alleged that Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Shahbaz Sharif were working on the same pattern of Hudaibiya Paper Mills: first they would send the looted money abroad and then bring it back through fake accounts and persons.

Replying to questions, he said that Allah Almighty’s was the biggest court while the court of masses had already rejected them and hopefully the courts would also follow. He explained that tax amnesty scheme for asset declaration working paper had been thrashed out by Law Minister Farogh Nasim, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, State Minister Hammad Azhar and Minister for Planning Commission Khusro Bakhtyar and it would be decided by the law minister whether to launch the scheme through an ordinance or through the parliament as a money bill.

The minister said the cabinet approved the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA) and initially 135,000 apartments would be constructed while the prime minister would inaugurate the construction of 25,000 apartments in Islamabad for the federal government employees while another 110,000 will be built in Balochistan and for the first time, a new colony will be constructed for fishermen in Gwadar.

Fawad said issues relating to electricity and gas also came for detailed discussion during the meeting and the prime minister directed crackdown against ‘big fish’ involved in theft of electricity and gas. He said pilferage of electricity worth Rs40 billion had been prevented due to effective measures, while several cases were registered against those involved in gas and electricity theft.

The minister explained that gas worth Rs3 billion was stolen in the last three years. He said 43 percent gas was being stolen. He said 93 percent of gas in Karak district and 41 percent in Balochistan went unaccounted for. He claimed the PML-N leader Sheikh Rohail Asghar's gas bill had gone up from mere Rs12,000 to over Rs110,000, which showed massive gas theft. He charged that former minister and PPP MNA Hina Rabbani Khar was sitting on a stay order for the last two years, regarding the power theft case.

Fawad said that a train station was being established at Nankana Sahib after the name of Baba Guru Nanak. He said the cabinet directed all the government departments to use the Pakistan Post for official communication. Moreover, Fawad noted that a grant of 94 million euros from Germany was also approved to be utilised for the provision of clean drinking water to the residents of Faisalabad.

The minister said the cabinet gave go-ahead for establishment of the Media University with its headquarters in Islamabad. He said media technology, digital media, cinematography and other modern media techniques would be taught at the new state-of-the-art university. He explained the Media University would be established after merging three academies namely PTV, Information Academy, and Pakistan Broadcasting Academy.

Fawad said that Finance Minister Asad Umar was visiting Washington to discuss an agreement with the IMF, which was likely to be signed soon, as the negotiations with IMF were in final stages. He said the Asset Declaration Scheme would be launched after discussing it with Asad Umar upon his return from Washington. He said the meeting also approved reconstitution of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and the approval was granted to one year licence for a private airline MS Air Eagle. He said it was approved that now Pakistan Baitul Mal would provide financial assistance for treatment of fatal diseases, which included liver and kidney problems.

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