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How the country was looted during last 10 years: Panel having ISI, IB, FIA, FBR, SECP representatives to probe

Top Story

June 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced to setup a high-powered commission under his own supervision to probe the wealth stolen from Pakistan and nab those who are responsible for foreign debt amounting Rs24,000 billion during the last ten years.

The premier agencies of the country, including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), will be part of the commission.

Addressing the nation on the state-run television Tuesday night, the premier severely criticised the leaders from the opposition and accused them of massive corruption. Imran Khan vowed to go after the "thieves who left the country badly in debt even at cost my life."

The address has been made in the wake of arrests of opposition stalwarts Asif Ali Zardari and Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in Pakistan and MQM leader Altaf Hussain in London. Earlier in the day, the prime minister had to face the noisy and stormy session of the National Assembly where the first budget of the incumbent government was presented.

"I'm making a high-powered inquiry commission with a one-point agenda: how did they raise the debt so much in 10 years?" The prime minister in the outset of his 40-minute address spoke of Riyasat-e-Madina.

"My Naya (new) Pakistan will be based on Riyasat-e-Madina. Remember my words: Pakistan will be a great nation. They say Riyasat-i-Madina is a 1400-year-old model was a modern state," he said.

"Minorities were part and parcel of the state; everyone was equal in the eyes of the law. Ever since we came into power, I hear (the question): 'where is the new Pakistan?' The state of Madina wasn't this way from day one ... there was a process in turning it into a welfare state," he said.

Turning to the recent arrests of the bigwigs, Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “I am grateful to Allah, the big figures who are now jailed, no one could have imagined. The judiciary is free today. The NAB chairman is not ours ... we didn't appoint anyone. This is the new Pakistan and you will slowly see the independence in institutions.”

He said the NAB cases are old. “I didn't start them. We weren't in power when Panama or the case against Shahbaz Sharif was started. So why are they (opposition) raising a hueand cry since day one? My mistake is I didn't budge under pressure and give them an NRO. The country fell into debt because of two NROs,” he said.

Imran Khan said people are crying that Nawaz Sharif and Zardari have been jailed...] both of them used to call each other corrupt.

“Nawaz Sharif jailed Zardari twice during his two tenures. The problem we (PTI) are facing is how to run the government — this is the price we are paying for the NROs,” he said.

The prime minister added that Nawaz and Zardari came to an agreement that each would rule for five years and "not say anything to each other".

“The debt from Rs6,000b has ballooned to Rs30,000b. What happened? Were dams built? What was done in Pakistan? What happened that the debt got out of control? These three households saw their wealth rise. After 2008, the debt has risen; the biggest reason was corruption,” he said.

Imran said when the debt was increasing, the then rulers’ wealth rose by 85 percent. "A woman who was caught at the airport carrying $500,000, hers and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's money are being channelled through the same fake account," the premier said.

"The leaders of the state were doing all this money laundering, but who would stop who?" he questioned.

"For 22 years, I was saying our biggest problem is corruption. The people should know what happens when a corrupt leader comes. Their assets are all abroad, their Eids are abroad, their treatment is abroad ... a three-time prime minister whose sons are sitting abroad are saying we are not citizens (of Pakistan) and are not answerable. They didn't make one hospital where the Sharifs could seek treatment,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister also said that he will work together with the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi and correct the state of affairs at the FBR.

The address, which was earlier slated for 9:15pm, was moved to 10:30pm, but started a little before midnight. Imran Khan said the new budget presented Tuesday was testament to the Naya Pakistan the PTI government wants to create. Imran Khan said that there was no quick fix to the country’s problems.

“You can already see how Pakistan is changing under our government. I want to create a Pakistan which is in line with the utopian society created by the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him),” he said.

Imran Khan said that supremacy of law and meritocracy were the key cogs in the first Muslim society. He said the previous PPP and PML-N governments had plundered the country. He said the NRO was done under former president Pervez Musharraf’s leadership to cover the tracks of the opposition’s corruption and money laundering.