ISLAMABAD: Clarifying rival political parties’ concerns over the ongoing accountability process, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the federal government would be willing to hear the valid demands of the opposition.
Addressing the media in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said the opposition parties who have engaged in corrupt practices are now acting as champions of the corruption fight.
The federal minister also said that the accountability process would continue regardless of the opposition parties’ protests.
Talking about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, Fawad said the government had to turn to the IMF owing to the massive money laundering carried out by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Drawing the PML-N into his line of fire over alleged money laundering and corruption, Fawad said: “It is like thieves have robbed our house and now we need to catch them and bring back what we have lost.”
There are now personal interests which have developed within the bureaucracy and these elements must be removed, he added.
If bureaucrats, the minister said, don’t approve of the government’s policy they can step down. “It is up to the bureaucracy to now implement the government policies.”
He said that a parliamentary committee should be formed to ascertain the reasons behind the looming financial crisis.
Fawad further said that those who have been in power from the previous governments are the criminals and they brought about this financial crisis the country finds itself in.
PARLIAMENTARY PANEL PROPOSED:
The info minister has proposed constitution of a parliamentary panel to investigate causes of the present economic crisis and pinpoint the accused.
Talking to media persons here outside the Parliament House, the minister said a committee like the parliamentary panel on alleged rigging in the general election, should be formed with the mandate to investigate the past 10 years period and trace the reasons behind the present economic crisis and name the persons responsible for it.
He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had never remained in power in the past and those, who ruled the country during last 10 years, were responsible for the rot. “Why the opposition did not demand the constitution of a parliamentary committee on the economic crisis,” he asked.
Fawad said the PTI enjoyed the people’s mandate for the implementation of its policies.
The minister said there was a parliamentary system in the country and the bureaucracy was bound to respect the public representatives. All the legislators, including those from the opposition, must be respected, he added.
He said some bureaucrats had personal affiliation with former rulers and were trying to create hurdles, but there was no need to worry as the government had the right to remove such people from key posts to ensure smooth running of its affairs.
“The Punjab inspector general of police was transferred due to policy matters and his failure to take any action on the prime minister’s directive regarding the investigation into the Model Town killing incident,” he said.
He added that the previous investigations into the incident were carried out during the tenure of Shehbaz Sharif and were not acceptable.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, he added, had assured Dr Tahirul Qadri that independent investigations would be held into the Model Town incident but the IGP did not take any concrete step in that regard. The IGP was a junior officer and he was appointed against the rules.
He was of the view that the decision of Election Commission of Pakistan to stay his transfer was illegal and the government had written a letter to the ECP in that regard.
The minister said corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif were neither registered during the PTI government nor it was using the same as a political tool, adding that there was frustration among the masses over NAB’s failure in recovering stolen billions of dollars stashed in western banks.
He said Pakistan’s example was like a family whose house had been burgled and the thieves had escaped. “The nation would have to catch the thieves to recover the stolen money and at the same time, it had to get loans for running government affairs. Some $ 8 billion was needed for payment of loans and $ 28 billion for running the state affairs,” he added.
Fawad said the National Assembly speaker had issued production orders of detained PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. “The opposition wanted to form a ‘united corruption union’ to pressurise the government to stop investigation into embezzled national wealth but the process of accountability would continue at all costs,” he added.