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Govt will not tolerate corrupt leaders: Imran Khan

25 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated his government’s policy of zero tolerance against corruption and the corrupt practices, promising that all the crooked elements who had done injustice to the country with their misdeeds and sent it into the debt trap should not expect any legislation like the defunct National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

In his televised address to the nation, the prime minister criticized the political opponents for spreading disinformation among the masses, saying that instead of feeling ashamed of what they had done with the country during the last decade, they were now clamouring to save the democracy by forming an alliance. The political parties, which ruled the country during the last 10 years, had left behind a whopping debt of Rs 30,000 billion, he added.

The PTI government, he said, was trying to ease the burden on the common man and finding a panacea for the ills the previous regimes wrecked on all the departments, including the Pakistan International Airlines, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills. Those elements knew it very well what they had done with the country men, he said, announcing that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would not succumb to any pressure from any quarter.

“Listen with open ears, do whatever you like, if you want to hold protest on a container, we will provide you a container and food or do your antics in the assemblies, but it should be clear to you that there will be no NRO. No corrupt will be spared as I had promised to the people not to let them walk free,” he said, in a loud and clear message. The PTI government will hold accountability of all at all costs without giving any NRO, he categorically stated.

Alluding to the magnitude of foreign debt, the prime minister regretted that a selected group in the society was amassing wealth while others were deprived of the basic needs. He said the government was tightening the noose around the persons involved in money laundering. The huge amounts were discovered in the accounts of a falooda seller and dead people, which was a ploy to embezzle public money, and then the same were laundered abroad, he added.

Imran Khan said his government was conducting audit of different ailing departments and had not initiated any steps of accountability so far. The people who had been crying hoarse were facing the old cases instituted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said, terming their tactics vain attempts to only blackmail the government.

He regretted that, unfortunately, the nation had to suffer due to the misdeeds of corrupt rulers and assured that soon the difficult times the country has been passing through would be over. The country would rise again as it was gifted with immense potential and resources, he added.

The prime minister said the historic assistance package given to Pakistan by Saudi Arabia would ease its economic woes, and hoped that it would not be a heavy burden now if Pakistan needed to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for further bailout package. He was all praise for the Saudi leadership for their unprecedented support. Imran Khan said Pakistan was back on the international stage as well as its stature restored after the Saudi leadership requested Pakistani leadership to play a role in ending the Saudi-Yemen conflict.

He said the government was under pressure to seek assistance from the IMF under tough conditions, which would have overburdened the people. That was why efforts were being made to approach friendly states for financial support, he said, and revealed that talks were also underway with two more friendly countries in this regard with good news for the countrymen expected in the coming days. He said the government had been successful in its efforts to ease the balance of payment crisis.

About the Yemen issue, the prime minister said Pakistan was trying to play the role of a mediator in some way to end the fighting. Pakistan would play its role to unite all and in this regard nation will hear good news very soon, he added.

The prime minister reiterated that his government would steer the country out of the current economic crisis through various policy interventions, including strengthening of state institutions, ensuring accountability, creating investment-friendly climate, boosting business and exports, and promoting housing and construction industry.

Imran Khan said the economic challenges facing the country at present were created mainly due to the poor economic performance and mismanagement by the previous governments over the last 10 years. He said the two political parties [PPP and PML-N], which remained in power over the last 10 years, took the country’s debt to an unprecedented level of Rs 30,000 billion in 2018 from Rs 6,000billion in 2008.Pakistan’s total debt in 1971, he said, stood at merely Rs30 billion, a time when the country had witnessed the construction of mega projects like Mangla and Terbela dams as well as other infrastructure projects.

Similarly, Imran Khan pointed out, the country’s power sector circular debt swelled to Rs 1,200 billion from Rs 230 billion in 2009 and Rs 480 billion in 2013.He said the previous government of PML-N even consumed Rs40 billion from the Workers Welfare Fund as well as the funds for the Pakistan Steel Mills.

The previous provincial government of Punjab also mismanaged various accounts and heads, he said. “These are the things done over the last 10 years which we are correcting. We have yet to implement our own policies,” he said, and wondered how the opposition parties were getting together to what they call save the democracy. “They [opposition parties] know that we are going for the audit of Rs 30,000 billion debt which they accumulated over the last years. They are making hue and cry just to save them from the accountability as the huge amount embezzled by them would be exposed after the audit,” he added.

Giving an outline of his government’s economic policies, Imran Khan said they were trying to strengthen the trade institutions, helping exporters to make them competitive and attracting investors through a one-window operation coupled with the measures towards ease of doing business in the country. He said the government was also focusing on increasing foreign remittances through various incentives for the overseas Pakistanis so that they send their remittances through banking channels.

The prime minister said his government’s initiative of constructing five million houses for the homeless people would give a big push to 40 allied industries and attract heavy investment besides creating business and job opportunities for the youth. He indicated that in the coming days, he would introduce a special package aimed at curbing poverty and bringing the poor into a safety net. “I am fully cognizant of the problems faced by the masses. But rest assured the hard days will be over,” he maintained. He described corruption as a cancer. “When a person undergoes a surgery for cancer, he has to face some difficulty, but after the operation he becomes healthy.

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