ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday thoroughly debated the idea of whether or not to make the list of 172 alleged fake (benami) bank account holders public by releasing it to media.
A day after the cabinet announced its decision to ban 172 people from flying out of the country, a list containing names of all the accused was released to media. According to the list, the top leadership, including PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, are facing travel restrictions.
A source in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government told Pakistan Today that a few senior members of the federal cabinet proposed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to use the investigation of the joint investigation team (JIT) regarding money laundering for taking political advantage from the senior leaders of the PPP in the parliament.
However, the prime minister surprisingly rejected the proposal and ordered the Ministry of Interior to make the names of accused public, the source added.
The federal government could have used the highly classified information as a leverage tool for arm-twisting of the opposition leaders but it decided to make the names public after due diligence, the source said, adding that in past, the governments used such information to serve its purpose.
The source further said that at a time when the PTI government badly needs numbers in the National Assembly and Senate to get critical bills passed, any other premier would have chosen to strike a deal with the opposition to get support for important legislation.
“However, unlike an opportunist politician, prime minister rose above petty interests and rather decided to name those who had used fake bank accounts to transfer abroad the money stolen out of national exchequer,” the source added.
Moreover, some cabinet members including Minister for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi convinced his colleagues to leave the matter to PM Imran Khan regarding the government’s stance in fake accounts case which is being heard by the Supreme Court.
The prime minister also praised Ministry of Interior and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for providing full support and leadership to the JIT members who had done an unbelievable investigation in record time to unmask such a huge number of alleged fake account holders, it added.