Nation special report
AMIDST reports of crackdown in anti-graft drive in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that all those responsible for corruption will be held accountable and there will be no NRO or compromise at any cost. “All speculations and predictions in this regards are false and fabricated”, he categorically stated addressing a press conference at the end of his day-long trip to Lahore today (Sunday), he denied any involvement in arrest of Shahbaz Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and slammed those who accused him of political victimisation.
Commenting over the prevailing situation, political observers have reminded the remarks of Imran Khan in a TV interview during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia that he likes the way the Saudi Government had dealt with the corruption and corrupt elements. In a lighter note, he was referring the Saudi action against over 200 rich figures those were detained at a Riyadh hotel and reportedly were made to confess by force of corruption and their corrupt deeds. According to media reports, government was successful in collecting over 200 billion dollars from them. The observers said that it looks that Imran Khan is following the same Saudi formula and hopefully the results would come out accordingly.
Referring the Saudi visit, the first ever foreign tour of Imran Khan after assuming the premiership last month, the informed sources said that during the meeting, Imran Khan discussed in detail the corruption on larger scale in Pakistan with Saudi King Salman and particularly Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who is the pioneer of this ‘formula’ and very successfully accomplished his mission.
During the media conference on Sunday, Imran Khan took a jibe at the opposition leader by saying, “I decided to hold this press conference after watching Shehbaz Sharif’s attempt of becoming Nelson Mandela. I have been saying from last 22 years that the biggest problem of this country is corruption.” According to him, bringing back looted wealth stashed abroad is the only way to stabilise economy without taking foreign loans.
He rejected criticism and defended his hand-picked Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar terming it politics of change and vowed that his nominee will never be involved in financial malpractices. Praising him, Imran said that he always wanted a CM like Usman Buzdar. He knows the problem of a common man. But the critics and media say that the choice of Usman Buzdar was not good due to his previous record. He was allegedly involved in a murder case and reportedly got rid of it by paying money to grieved family.
It may be recalled that Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, has been arrested by NAB in Ashiana Housing case only days before important by-elections on 30 vacant seats in national and provincial assemblies. Sharif was in NAB’s office in connection with SAAF Paani project probe when he was taken into custody. NAB is within its right to make the arrest provided it has genuine reasons.
Over the last few months NAB has been under mounting pressure from the Supreme Court for its failure to deliver. The apex court had been expressing dissatisfaction with NAB’s performance in various cases. Last month it threw out as ‘frivolous’ NAB’s petition which challenged the Islamabad High Court’s decision to hear an appeal by the Sharif family against the Avenfield verdict. The apex court fined the anti-graft watchdog Rs20,000. Last week the SC wondered if there was a single case that NAB had wound up.