–Ahsan Iqbal rubbishes federal minister’s claims, tells govt to ‘stop spewing venom against CPEC to hide incompetence’
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Communication Murad Saeed on Friday accused former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal and frontman Javed Sadiq of misappropriating funds worth up to Rs70 billion in the Multan-Sukkur Motorway project.
Addressing a press conference, the federal minister alleged that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government awarded the contract to a company of its choice while violating the law. “The agreement for the Rs259 billion project was made by Nawaz, Iqbal and Sadiq.”
“We have the documented proofs of all the projects awarded to preferred companies without bidding at higher rates which will be provided to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during the probe,” Murad vowed.
“Indiscriminate accountability will bring back money looted from the nation,” he said while adding that the government will continue “transparent and indiscriminate accountability”. “We will soon uncover corruption in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government as well.”
Speaking of his ministry’s performance, he said it had made recoveries worth Rs9.54 million through an internal audit of its departments and proper governance.
“I have set a target of three years after which construction of roads and projects will be started where all the projects will be carried out without finances from the national exchequer rather the ministry’s own revenue will be utilised.”
Murad further claimed that the ministry was kept by former premier Nawaz whereas his parliamentary secretary’s TADA was 400 times more than the salary the incumbent minister was drawing.
‘STOP SPEWING VENOM AGAINST CPEC’:
Reacting to the federal minister’s presser later in the day, Ahsan Iqbal termed it as “yet another dangerous effort of making the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project controversial”.
In a video statement, Iqbal said that not only did he condemn Murad’s statements but saw it as “utter insanity and intellectual bankruptcy” of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
“In the past Prime Minister Imran Khan too had jeopardised the entire initiative with his irresponsible and misinformed statements to make the flagship project contentious,” he said and warned the government to not “spew venom” against CPEC.
The PTI, he added, should stop making the project controversial with its grossly miscalculated assumptions. “This outburst is a reaction of the government’s incapacity and failure to carry out CPEC projects.”
Iqbal said the government didn’t even know that the monitoring of all CPEC projects was done by independent experts from both Pakistan and China.
“This nefarious propaganda is a heinous conspiracy to damage the ages-old Pakistan-China relationship. I am thoroughly appalled and disappointed that this project which is the flag-bearer of the bond has been dragged in petty political jabs to score cheap political points.”