ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (APP): Prime minister Imran Khan Saturday said that Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf government wanted accountability of all those who had embezzled the public money and therefore, ensured functioning of National Accountability Bureau and other investigation agencies completely independent, free from any political interference.
In a private TV (Express News) programme, the prime minister to a query replied that National Accountability Bureau was functioning independently and the government had no control over it.
The NAB cases which the both leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N were facing now, had been instituted by them against each other during their tenures in government, he maintained.
The prime minister said the PTI’s government had nothing to do with these cases. The government wanted accountability of all those who had embezzled public money. The investigation and accountability institutions in the country were now functioning independently, he stressed.
The prime minister further said when the PTI government came into being, sons of Nawaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar, Salman Shahbaz etc, had already left the country.
He said BBC’s two documentaries were based upon the corruption of leadership from both these parties.
They wanted to get another NRO as they tried to blackmail the government on Financial Action Task Force (FATAF) legislation, he added.
The prime minister in response to a question regarding investigation into sugar inquiry report, maintained that for the first time in the country’s history, legal proceedings were initiated against sugar cartel.
He said further process was underway as two FIRs were also registered in the case. Now, certain cases were pending before the Competition Commission.
Expressing his resolve, the prime minister said all those involved would have to face the law of the land.
“I will not interfere in this process,” he said, adding the institutions and departments investigating the issue had been given full independence.
These institutions were made weaker in the past, the prime minister said.
About Jahangir Tareen’s, the prime minister said that he had worked for the party for long time and they remained very close. Tareen had been passing through difficult time and according to Tareen’s claims ,the cases against him were wrongly framed; the prime minister replied in response to a query.
To another question, he said there were no corruption cases against Firdous Ashiq Awan which had made basis for her removal from the information ministry.
About appointment of Naeem Bukhari in the board of directors of PTV, the prime minister said that being familiar and well-known personality who had been regularly appearing on PTV since 1970 with immense experience, so he had requested Bukhari to accept the post.
The prime minister regretted that once PTV dramas as had enjoyed huge popularity even across the borders.
The prime minister agreed that opposition should also get coverage on PTV like the BBC, TRT and Al Jazeera which also reflected governments’ points of view.
About performance of chief minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, he said after completion of his five years term, he would be the only most successful chief minister of the province due to his performance including his development initiatives like healthcare insurance to all residents of the province.
For the last thirty years in Punjab, the same system had been intact which was politicized, certain changes could be justified, he replied in response to a query regarding different bureaucratic changes made by the chief minister.
“Change does not mean you are at fault, rather striving to achieve for optimal performance, he added.
The prime minister expressed his confidence that the government would generate millions of jobs and construct five million houses during its five years term.
He said the government had been working on two mega project, Bundal Island in Karachi and Ravi River Urban Front Development besides, Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme which would generate huge job opportunities.
Under the housing project, five million housing units would be constructed for the low income groups with bank loan and mortgage facilities, he added.
The prime minister said the foreclosure law which was pending before the courts for about two years, but now it was decided by the Supreme Court.
For the first time, the government would provide financing and waiver incentives to first five hundred thousand houses spreading over five marals of land. The construction package had given boom to this sector with huge cement sale witnessed recently.
About the Ravi Urban Front Development Project, the prime minister said, the 40 km lake in the project would regenerate the underground water table of Lahore besides, rejuvenating the Ravi river.
The project would turn Lahore into a modern city with latest sewerage system, he said rejecting certain claims as disinformation that private land was being forcefully taken over.
The project would be an effort to get the unplanned settlement into planned one and save Lahore, he added.
The prime minister said the Bundal Island in Karachi would be an environment friendly and a properly designed modern city.
The project would generate job opportunities, and attract overseas Pakistanis’ investment, thus increasing the country’s foreign reserves, he added.
About BRT Peshawar, the prime minister maintained that it was a project of Asian Development Bank in which all conditions were compiled. If anyone had any objection, he could investigate it.
About his government’s foreign policy, he said Kashmir issue had been internationalized with continuous efforts. For the first time, the issue was thrice discussed at United Nations Security Council.
The European parliament, parliaments in United Kingdom, United States legislators and others had discussed the issue, he added.
During Nawaz Sharif’s government, even instructions were made to the Forein Office against criticizing India . “Whether Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue during his government” he posed a question.
Further elaborating the contours of foreign policy, the prime minister said Pakistan enjoyed good ties with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). There were certain visa issues with the UAE which were being discussed.
“Pakistan enjoyed excellent ties with Turkey and ever strengthening relations with China. It has such good ties with Afghanistan which were never achieved in the past. Now the US acknowledged Pakistan’s contributions in the peace efforts and intra-Afghan talks,” he added.
The prime minister said there were no such demands like ‘do more’.
“Now we have taken the country’s foreign policy to that point where it had never been,” he noted.
To a query, he said he had huge respect for Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
About health reports of Nawaz Shairf, the prime minister said at that time, Shehbaz Sharif had given a written guarantee to Lahore High Court about his brother’s return after treatment.
Now, they were behaving in the manner like they did after signing an agreement with former president general (R)Pervez Musharraf, he added.
“Neither anyone exerted pressure on me nor can do it,” he said in reply to a query regarding government’s decision to allow Nawaz Sharif to leave Pakistan for his treatment. The prime minister said he was blessed with everything prior to his joining the politics.
About another query, he said agencies had all the information about the corruption of past rulers.
“No one can pressurize me,” he said emphatically.
About freedom of media, he said media had bigger role in democracy with positive criticism as it always kept the government on toes.
But it required responsibility with freedom of expression because on certain issues, like the economic situation, any disinformation could lead to negative impacts, he observed.
The prime minister further said criticism was an asset of the society. “It is critical for progression of human thoughts,” he added.
Justifying his U-turn stance, the prime minister said for securing a victory in a match, strategies had to be changed.
To a question, he said everybody knew that Nawaz Sharif was a selected prime minister, same was the case with Zardari. Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto showed that lineage based upon family politics. “Such things are against the spirit of democracy,” he added.
About 2018 elections, the prime minister said FAFEN report had found them fairer when compared with the 2013 polls.
The prime minister maintained that he was never pressurized or asked by the establishment for a particular decision.
About appointment of Lt Gen retd Asim Salim Bajwa as China Pakistan Economic Corridor authority chairman, he said Bajwa was appointed on the basis of his vast experience in Balochistan province.
He was appointed as his assistant on information due to his experience in ISPR. The government wanted to revamp information ministry; therefore, he was appointed on that post.