PM Imran announces high-level commission to probe ‘decade of political corruption’

  • 'They may threaten my Government, they may threaten my life, they cannot deter me!'
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced to form a high-level commission to investigate systematic corruption by the former ruling elite that led Pakistan into a massive debt trap over the last 10 years.

The new commission, that will probe the massive debt Pakistan owes to the international money lenders, comprises the Federal Investigation Agency, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Inter-Service Intelligence among others.

In his post-budget address, which was aired midnight after multiple delays and was interrupted twice due to some apparent technical reasons, the premier said the PTI’s first budget “will reflect the ideals on which Pakistan was founded”.

“The Naya Pakistan will follow principles laid by the welfare state of Medina founded by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“I assure you all today, this country will become a great state. Because it will follow footsteps of welfare state of Medina. Which was not just any other state but a very modern state,” Khan said in his address to the nation.

The PM said he was “ashamed to say so far our country’s principles did not fall in line with that of Medina. The West has adopted more of Medina’s form of governance”.

“What does the state of Medina teaches us? That the head, the sovereign is accountable for his/her deeds. He/she is not above any law.

“Rule of law means everyone is equal before law. No one can say “What an audacity of yours to ask me?” nor threaten NAB like “Don’t you know who I am?”

He went to say that “for us to reach the ideals of the Riasat of Medina, we, as a nation need to strive to reach those ideals. It was built through a process.

“In Naya Pakistan today there is a progression towards equity and justice. All institutions are free and without any political obstruction or pressure,” he added.

Individually, or as Prime Minister, Khan said he has “neither proscribed any political victimisation nor any personal vendetta”. “My only fault is I have not given into blackmail or have granted any favours,” he stated.

Khan hit out at two Opposition parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – which have ruled the country for over two decades, saying: “In the last ten years, there was no Charter of Democracy, but a Charter of Corruption.”

“The last ten years of our history tell a story of unprecedented money laundering, corruption, loot and corruption.”

The prime minister said the two political parties entered into an alliance and kept bringing a chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of their own choice.

“We did not appoint the NAB chairman; Nawaz league and PPP appointed him,” he said, adding, “I did not form cases against opposition [members].”

Khan noted the mega money laundering case against Asif Ali Zardari was registered by the PML-N, adding that the opposition wanted an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

“Today hue and cry is being raised that Zardari is in jail, and Nawaz league and PPP have come together,” he lamented.

“The debt from 6,000bn has ballooned to 30,000bn. What happened? Were dams built? What was done in Pakistan? What happened that the debt got out of control?

“These three households saw their wealth rise. After 2008, the debt has risen; the biggest reason was corruption.

“When the debt was increasing, their wealth rose by 85pc.

“A woman who was caught at the airport carrying $500,000, hers and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s money are being channelled through the same fake account,” the premier said. “The leaders of the state were doing all this money laundering, but who would stop who?”

The cricketer-turned politician, who earlier governed the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as the party chairman for five years, revealed that since he has assumed the top office, he “has been surrounded by unprecedented economic issues related to safeguarding Pakistan financially & keeping it afloat and away from defaulting.”

“We have survived the pressure. Today by the grace of Allah Almighty Pakistan is stable,” he added.

He then announced: “I am ordering the establishment of a high-power committee to ascertain what happened in the last decade, and to bring to justice all those involved in bringing Pakistan to this condition.

“These nefarious elements, who have damaged this country with debt and corruption, have no stake in Pakistan. They have stashed all their assets abroad.”

Khan then promised the people of Pakistan, that “under this high powered committee, including the FBR, SECP, FIA and other security agencies (including ISI), we shall bring all corrupt elements to justice.”

He continued: “They may threaten my Government, they may threaten my life, they cannot deter me. I shall bring everyone who has brought this country to this appalling state, to justice. This is my promise to the people of Pakistan.”

The Pakistani premier also lauded the valiant the armed forces for limiting their expenditures despite the threat of terrorism, “to ensure we spend more on the socio-economic recovery of our country”.

In his address, the PM once again urged the countrymen to join him me “in building a NayaPakistan”. Also, he stressed using the Tax Amnesty Scheme that shall expire on June 30th, 2019, so we can collect the taxes, to pay off our debt and rise as a prosperous nation.

PTI unveils its first federal budget for FY2019-20

Khan’s address is followed by the first budget for FY2019-20 presented by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in the National Assembly earlier today.