ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday that having been exposed by Broadsheet after Panama Papers; the country’s elites could not hide behind “victimisation” card on international revelations of their corruption and money laundering.
“Panama Papers exposed our ruling elites’ corruption & money laundering earlier. Now Broadsheet revelations have again exposed the massive scale of our ruling elites’ corruption & money laundering,” Imran Khan said on Twitter. He also said the international revelations exposed what he had been saying during his 24-year fight against corruption, which was also the biggest threat to Pakistan’s progress.
The prime minister viewed that those elites came to power and plundered the country. Moreover, they also did money laundering to stash their ill-gotten gains abroad, safe from domestic prosecution. “They then use their political clout to get NROs. That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe. People of (Pakistan) are biggest losers,” the prime minister remarked.
He said the people were loser because not only their nation’s wealth was stolen by the elites rather their taxpayer money, paid for recovering this wealth, was wasted because of NROs. “These revelations (are) tip of the iceberg. We want complete transparency from Broadsheet on our elites money laundering & on who stopped investigations,” he added.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Khan formed an inter-ministerial committee after Broadsheet LLC’s Kaveh Moussavi said his firm was influenced by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others and that it had evidence of money laundering by some other Pakistanis.
The prime minister discussed the issue during ‘zero hour’, after completing discussion on the agenda of the cabinet meeting, and in the presence of cabinet members only.
“The cabinet formed an inter-ministerial committee, which will reveal details of the individuals mentioned in the Broadsheet scandal,” Information Minister Shibli Faraz said, adding that the premier had now decided to make the names public after thorough scrutiny of the available material.
Broadsheet LLC, a UK company that was registered in the Isle of Man in the Pervez Musharraf era, helped the then government and newly established National Accountability Bureau (NAB) track down foreign assets purchased by Pakistanis through alleged ill-gotten wealth.
Broadsheet claims that it was established to enter into an Asset Recovery Agreement dated June 20, 2000, and did so with the then president of Pakistan, through the NAB chairman, for the purposes of recovering funds and other assets fraudulently taken from the state and other institutions, including through corrupt practices, and held outside of Pakistan.
Broadsheet maintains that it was created to be a company specialising in the recovery of assets and funds, and was therefore engaged to trace, locate and transfer such items back to the state.
Earlier this week, the controversy took another turn after the firm’s owner alleged that a person who claimed to be associated with Nawaz approached him in 2012 and offered a sum of money to drop the probe against him.
Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday while reaffirming the exceptional nature of Pakistan-Turkish political relationship stressed the importance of transforming it into a robust economic partnership. The bilateral ties were discussed here in a meeting between the prime minister and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who called on him, a PM Office press release said.
During the meeting, they discussed Pakistan-Turkish bilateral relations, and regional and international issues. The two sides reaffirmed their shared resolve to further upgrade trade, investment, defence, educational and cultural cooperation.
The prime minister thanked Turkey for its steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and highlighted the detrimental Indian actions posing a threat to peace and security.
In the regional context, Imran Khan underscored the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful solution of the conflict in Afghanistan.
In this regard, he highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process, and the imperative for all Afghan stakeholders to work for bringing down violence leading to ceasefire and securing an inclusive and broad-based political settlement. Imran Khan emphasized the importance of working to combat Islamophobia and promote better understanding of the reverence Muslims have for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and further build Pakistan-Turkish strategic relationship to the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples.
E-Bidding and E-Billing
Prime Minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated the E-Bidding, E-Billing and GIS Mapping system under National Highway Authority for good governance, maintaining transparency and ensuring accountability in Islamabad today (Wednesday).
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, he said this step will take the country towards modernity and digitalization. He said e-bidding will reduce human interaction in awarding contracts of various projects, which will end corruption and bribery in the whole process.
The Prime Minister expressed the resolve to digitize Federal Board of Revenue by July this year.
He said we can ensure more tax collection by introducing automation and digitization in the FBR.
Imran Khan said we can spend more on human development if we have excessive funds in the form of increased tax collection. He said other ministries will also be encouraged to move towards e-governance so that utmost transparency can be ensured.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the revenue of the ministry has increased by hundred percent while over twenty billion rupees recovered through a process of accountability in the department. While mentioning different road infrastructure projects, he said over 6,000 kilometers long new roads are being constructed in different parts of the country.
Usama Satti’s father meets PM
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday assured the family of slain Usama Satti (killed in fake encounter) of justice, as victim’s father called on him here.
Usama Nadeem Satti, a resident of G-13 Islamabad, was allegedly shot dead on January 2 by personnel of the Anti-Terrorist Squad in the wee hours, claiming that they were chasing some robbers.
The prime minister prayed peace of the departed soul and strength to the victim family to bear the loss. He also expressed heartfelt grief over the incident and assured provision of justice to the victim family.
The incident was also discussed during the federal cabinet’s meeting on Tuesday wherein the prime minister expressed his strong displeasure and annoyance over the killing of youngster by the police.
The prime minister was told that the Joint Investigation Committee formed to investigate killing of Usama Satti had presented its report to the interior secretary. However, the prime minister expressed the resolve that new probe would be arranged if family members of the deceased youth were not satisfied with JIT’s findings.