—Minister says opposition trying to put pressure on govt to get relief in corruption cases
ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz said Saturday the All Parties Conference (APC) of opposition would be a gathering of “accused and losers”, who only wanted to create “law and order situation and chaos” in the country.
Addressing a press conference flanked by Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shehzad Akbar, the minister said opposition was trying to spread hopelessness by saying from day one that the government had failed. He said opposition wanted to rule the country to protect its illegal wealth and properties but the result of the APC would be zero.
A convicted person will make a speech through video link in the APC, Shibli said, adding the opposition was trying to put pressure on the government to get relief in the cases of corruption.
Shibli said Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that he was ready to sit with the opposition on any issue but he would not compromise on corruption. He said the government had achieved successes, revived the economy, exports and remittances were increasing and economic indicators were improving.
The government overcame the issue of coronavirus and then revived the economy – a feat not accomplished by any other government in the world, the minister added.Shibli said the government negotiated with the power producer companies to provide cheap electricity and gas to the people.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan announced incentives for the construction sector and the government would fulfill its promise of building five million houses by the time it would complete its term. He said Nawaz Sharif destroyed the country and brought the economy to verge of bankruptcy while staying inside and Altaf Hussain damaged the country sitting abroad.
The PTI government was transparent and committed and working for the development of the country, the minister maintained.
To a question, he said regional newspapers were nursery for journalism, adding, “We will request the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to facilitate the regional newspapers within the set parameters.”
He said the joint sitting of the parliament passed the anti-terrorism and money laundering bills to meet the requirements of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The legislation was done in the best interest of the country and to take Pakistan out of the grey list. Past rulers did not pass legislation on money laundering to serve their own interests and FATF put Pakistan in the grey list. The opposition was exposed because of the way it opposed the FATF related legislation.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shehzad Akbar said FATF was represented by countries which review each other’s laws to see whether these meet the requirements to counter money laundering and terror financing. He said Pakistan had an FATF secretariat represented by different institutions and worked on ways to stop money laundering. As a responsible government, it was its duty to pass the FATF related legislation.
Shehzad said the government held discussions with the opposition for the last one year on the FATF related laws.
The opposition wanted 34 amendments in the NAB law, he said, adding the government passed the laws with the support of the people despite resistance of the opposition.
Shehzad said due to loopholes in the money laundering law, there were issues of fake accounts. FATF had a booklet mentioning steps to stop money laundering and the government also made provisions in the law to this effect, he added.
PTI wanted Pakistan to be out of the grey list and stop money laundering, he asserted.He said opposition tried to stop money laundering cases of Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others by proposing amendments in the law. Opposition wanted that NAB should not be an investigation agency for the offences of money laundering, he told.
He denied that there was a new provision in laws to put a person in jail for six months. He said institutions could arrest an individual for different crimes and money laundering was made a cognizable offence to avoid delay in investigation. He clarified that in the age of media and in the presence of journalists and cameras, it was not possible to count wrongly in the Parliament for passage of bills.
Shehzad said participants of the APC including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Asif Zardari and Ahsan Iqbal were accused while Nawaz Sharif was a convict. The agenda of the APC was that the opposition wanted change in the NAB laws and was seeking powers to appoint judges of its own choosing, he explained.
Shehzad Akbar said the application of investigation techniques was introduced in line with the demand of FATF.