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Wednesday July 06, 2022

Govt’s warning to TTP: Abide by law, or face action

“We have fought them in the past, and can do the same in future also,” says Fawad Chauhdry on TTP

By News Desk
December 13, 2021
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib jointly addressing a press conference at Governor House. -APP
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib jointly addressing a press conference at Governor House. -APP

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Sunday said the government policy was very clear about dealing with the parties and groups having terrorist or extremist background in the past.

He was addressing a press conference and replying to reporters’ questions in the backdrop of news that a police official was martyred during an armed attack allegedly by the TTP on the polio vaccination team in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank district, on Sunday.

Explaining the dialogue process with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the minister said the state was willing to move forward with those who agree to abide by the Constitution. But, he warned, for those who were not willing to comply, “we have fought them in the past, and can do the same in future also”.

He said the state had no confusion with regard to the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and all similar outfits as well. Fawad Ch claimed that various extremist parties and groups had also been registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He said there were big question marks on various parties’ sources of funding, and there was no record of funding of the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

He said the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) also faced serious allegations about its sources of funding. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should scrutinise and publicise the funding sources of all parties. It should scrutinise the party funding of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), besides other registered political parties so that the people could compare and evaluate the parties.

Accompanied by State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib at the Governor’s House, he said the ECP’s scrutiny committee had scrutinised the foreign funding source of the PTI, but the same committee had not made any significant proceedings in foreign funding case of the PPP and the PMLN.

He said that the PTI had submitted the record of more than 40,000 donors consisting of about 22 volumes to the ECP, so that the party funding sources could be publicised.

The minister said that the PMLN had under-valued its assets as it showed the value of a house in F-7 Sector of Islamabad as only Rs27 million, while two transactions of Rs145 million and Rs86.7 million were also made to the PMLN account in 2013, and the source of such transactions to the party account was also unknown. But the PTI had submitted the record of its each donor, even of that who donate one dollar or 10 dollars to the PTI, he added.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the PMLN had claimed an office, situated in F-8 area, Islamabad but it was yet to be ascertained who was paying funds for running financial matters of the office, adding that the audit of PMLN’s Punjab office was not conducted from 2013 to 2015, while the balance of Rs17.5 million was available in its account without known source of income, he added.

The minister said that Nawaz Sharif had donated 100 million rupees to its party, while out of that donated amount, Rs45 million were returned to Nawaz Sharif so the said method was used for money whitening, adding that a company situated in London, United Kingdom was collecting and arranging funds for the PMLN, but still there was no record that of what sources the company was collecting the funds.

Fawad Ch said that there was no PPP’s funding information available from the period 2009 to 2012 so as the PPP had opened a source account and deposited Rs420 million into it without apprising the ECP about the source of the amount, whereas the PPP had also showed amounts of Rs3.6 million, 3.5 million and 2.5 million into its audited account from the period 2013 to 2015 without mentioning the source of funding, he said.

The PPP had claimed that it spent about 230 million during the general elections 2013, but the source was not mentioned, he claimed. The minister said that the PPPP, under the control of then Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani, had also established a company in the USA which collected the funds of millions of dollars for the PPPP without known source so there should be accountability for all the political parties.

The ECP should scrutinise the accounts of political parties into phases as it could scrutinise the accounts of three major political parties in the first phase, and make them public and then rest of the parties including Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), JUIF and TLP in the second phase, he added.

He congratulated the Punjab government for introducing such an effective new local governments system to decentralise the powers at lower level and said that it was for the first time that mayors’ elections would be held directly in all districts of Punjab and the mayors would have their own empowered cabinet, adding that the new system was aimed to devolve powers to the local representatives to redress people’s issues at the earliest and bring about a change.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan fulfilled his promise of introducing a truly empowered local government system, which he made to the people of Pakistan, adding that Chief Minister of Sindh should focus on his governance matters instead of making indecent and rude statements about the federal government.

The minister said that for the first time since 1964, Karachi was doing federal politics instead of regional. To a question, Fawad said the local government elections could be held through electronic voting machines as Election Commission of Pakistan should issue tender pertaining to the purchase of such machines for inviting various vendors or companies while the purchase process of such machines could be completed within few months.

To another query, the minister said that persistent decrease in inflation rate had been recorded for the last three weeks, adding that the prices of petrol, oil, wheat, lentils and other commodities were lesser in Pakistan compared to other countries in the region.

He said that the government had taken responsibility to bear the health related expenditures of people under Sehat Insaf programme, providing a huge relief to the people besides improving the purchase power as now they could utilise such amount for other purposes.

Fawad Chaudhry said the PTI government was striving right from the first day after coming to power to resolve the issues of people of Balochistan.

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said financial matters of all political parties should be made public so that the people could analyse and compare them, adding that the ECP scrutiny committee had examined the accounts and funding details of the PTI but it did not scrutinise accounts of PPP and the PML-N.

He demanded the ECP to conduct scrutiny of the PPP and PMLN accounts under the directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan. Farrukh said that both PPP and PMLN were trying to hide the facts and account details as once Benazir Bhutto, in her book, had levelled accusation against Nawaz Sharif that he received funding from foreign elements to derail her government. He said the ECP should hold scrutiny of smaller parties accounts also after the major political parties.

Meanwhile, the electronic media reported that a police official was martyred during an armed attack on the polio vaccination team in KP's Tank district on Sunday.

Tank Deputy Commissioner Kabir Khan Afridi confirmed the reports of the attack saying that some armed men opened fire at a police constable deputed for providing security to the polio vaccination team in Tank's Shada village.

The constable died on the spot while the assailants managed to escape, Afridi said. This was the second time on the second consecutive day that a polio vaccination team was attacked and a cop was martyred as a result in Tank. Also, it was the second attack allegedly by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan after it announced ending the ceasefire agreement.

On Saturday, gunmen had attacked and killed security personnel assigned to protect a polio vaccination team in the same district. The banned TTP had claimed that its fighters attacked the polio team in Tank. Extremist groups often target polio teams and security assigned to protect them, claiming the vaccination campaigns were a "conspiracy to sterilise children”.

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