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June 25, 2019

Benazir phoned Bilawal about treasure trove: Murad

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June 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed Monday said that those calling Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came into power after 20-year struggle, as the ‘selected one’ had themselves formed their government after signing an NRO with a military dictator.

“Ms. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari begged their masters in Pakistan and the US while signing the NRO,” he said, while referring to the contents of a book written by the then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he quoted Condoleeza Rice saying in her book that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto sought help of the US administration for reconciliation with former president Pervez Musharraf.

Benazir Bhutto demanded the US administration that her colleagues and her husband Asif Ali Zardari should be immunized against charges of corruption and money laundering. She had also asked how she could become the prime minister again despite the constitutional restriction on the third term and finally asked would Pervez Musharraf support her return to Pakistan. She talked to the United States in early October and returned to Pakistan in October 2007.

Reading out some paragraphs from the book, the minister said the PPP leaders were worried as to what would happen to the corruption cases against them and whether Benazir Bhutto would be elected prime minister for the third time.

Murad quoted another incident in which Asif Zardari was in talks with Deputy Directors of US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Adviser at a time when US was carrying out drone strikes in tribal areas of Pakistan which destroyed homes and businesses and funerals of people killed in aerial strikes were held.

This was the time when Hussain Haqqani who spews hate against Pakistan, was the ambassador in the United States. Zardari told United States "collateral damage worries the US but does not worry me," the minister quoted from the book.

This was the time when Imran Khan was leading the protests and staging sit ins against the drones strike in North Waziristan. He also referred to another book ‘Obama’s War’ on issue of drone attacks during the PPP regime and pointed out that the then President Asif Zardari had asked the CIA officials, “You continue drone attacks and we will continue to stage protest in Parliament.”

Murad also referred to a taped telephone call made by Benazir Bhutto to her son Bilawal Bhutto in which she told him about the jewellery and huge sums of money held by them in fake bank accounts.

The minister also presented an April 18, 2017 notification through which the then Punjab chief minister was allowed to purchase Rs130 crore helicopter, while through another notification, two houses in DHA Lahore and a house in Model Town were also declared as the chief minister houses.

Giving other details of the then prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s expenses, he said Sharif proceeded to the UK in May, 2016 for his medical treatment boarding a special plane, which cost $327,000 to the national exchequer, while expenditure on the special plane was Rs340 million.

Murad said Rs283.6 million was spent on construction of Raiwind Road, Rs100 crore on fencing of the residence and other security measures and over 2,700 security personnel were deputed for security of Sharif family. “We will send bills of all these expenses to the Sharif family to make payment to the government,” the minister said amid protest and hooting from the opposition benches.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was bearing all the expenses on his residence from his own pocket, while fencing of the house was carried out with the party’s funds.

“Imran Khan also refused to visit the UK to watch cricket world cup match between Pakistan and South Africa to save time and money,” he added. He also spoke high of allocations made for the youth, Ehsas Programme, construction of shelter homes, health cards, roads network and other measures taken for provision of free education and financial aid for widows.

He said Rs200 billion had been set aside as subsidy for the power consumers using up to 300 units. Murad pointed out that Imran Khan had also talked with the Saudi crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) about release of Pakistanis imprisoned in Saudi jails and also requested him to take care of Pakistani labourers but he never said that he wanted to establish a steel mill for his family.

He said Imran Khan had also sent a special plane to Malaysia to bring 340 Pakistanis stranded there, and for treatment of Nawaz Sharif and his family members. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had also talked about Kashmir and Palestine issues and Namoos-e-Risalat (SAW) at the OIC meeting.

Nawab Akhtar Mengal of Balochistan National Party (BNP) talked about deprivation of Baloch people and the injustices meted out to them. He recalled that when he approached the Supreme Court in 2012 with six points, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif assured him of their support but what happened afterwards had surprised him.

As Speaker Asad Qaiser asked him to cut short his speech, the Baloch leader asked him to let him talk about five military operations conducted in Balochistan.

He regretted that out of 525 missing persons, only 322 had been recovered. He said two dams — Hub and Mirani — were constructed during the tenures of military dictators Ayub Khan and Pervez Musharraf.

Mengal suggested formation of a parliamentary committee to visit Balochistan and look into the problems of Baloch people. The Speaker asked Mengal to move a motion at an appropriate time so that Parliament could move forward on the issue.

He also asked the government to take the elected representatives into confidence on Gwadar development. Talking about the national agenda, he said there should be an independent election, independent judiciary, free media and fair and transparent accountability of all including the serving and retired generals, judges and others.

“We are ready to cooperate with you if you follow this national agenda,” he said. The Speaker said he was personally looking into issuance of production orders for two parliamentarians from Waziristan.

Qaiser said he had received a formal request for their production orders only on Saturday and sough legal opinion from the Ministry of Law. “Rest assured, I will take my own opinion in this issue,” he said.

The Speaker pointed that he had also sought legal opinion while issuing production orders for opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Khawaja Saad Rafique.