“Don’t glorify criminals who looted the country, no protocol for

them”, Imran Khan tells the nation, hinting media and political parties

Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: Following a clear warning from Prime Minister Imran Khan on various occasions including address to the nation twice, the informed sources have hinted towards a major crackdown against those who were involved in money laundering and plundering the national wealth.

In a latest message on Wednesday, Imran Khan asked the nation that it is time the nation stopped glorifying money launderers who have caused damage to the country. His audience was obvious the media and political parties who are busy in projecting these figures who the prime minister termed as criminals and culprits and should be dealt accordingly.

In a post on Twitter, the prime minister said, “Time for nation to stop glorifying money launderers who have damaged our nation and impoverished our people and now seeking refuge behind ‘democracy’.”

“No protocol should be extended to them. Where are plunderers of public wealth given such special treatment? Time to treat them as criminals,” PM Imran added.

On Tuesday, the prime minister promised to constitute a “high-powered commission” to probe corruption of last 10 years in Pakistan. Announcing the formation of a high-level commission to probe corruption, the prime minister said it would investigate acquisition of foreign loans over the past 10 years.

He said the foreign debt of the country jumped to Rs30,000 billion from Rs6,000 billion in the last 10 years. “The inquiry commission will have representatives from the IB, FIA, FBR, SECP and ISI,” PM Imran said. “We will find out through the inquiry commission how foreign debts of the country mounted to Rs24,000 billion.” 

High-powered commission comprising FIA, IB, ISI, FBR and SECP to probe into Rs. 24,000bn foreign debts Imran Khan expresses gratitude to Almighty Allah over arrests bigwigs 30-June deadline

Just a day before announcement of new federal budget in which unprecedented new taxes for about Rs 800bn are likely to be imposed, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday morning gave a stern message to all tax evaders to declare their financial assets, within the country and abroad, before June 30 or be ready for an indiscriminate action.

In a televised address to the nation at the unusual time, he threatened that this government had an unprecedented in-depth information about the assets of the citizens including their bank accounts, real estate and benami (in the name of another person) transactions and thus would not spare anyone who does not declare them before June 30. The government is to present the Budget 2019-20 on Tuesday.

Giving support to his threat, Imran Khan said the government had bilateral agreements with several countries on information-sharing and also had information received from the intelligence agencies.

He mentioned that in 10 years, the country’s total debt and liabilities rose from Rs six trillion to Rs 30 trillion and regretted that half of the amount collected from tax – Rs two trillion out of Rs four trillion- was being spent on the paying the debts of previous governments.

Probe commission

Throwing an open challenge to his opponents, Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed thanks to Almighty God that all big figures including former president Asif Ali Zardari, MQM Founder Altaf Hussain and PML-N leader Hamza Sharif are behind the bar whereas former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is already facing conviction and is lodged in prison.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, he said; “I am thankful to Allah, the big figures are now in prison. No one could have even imagined.” He vowed to go after the “thieves who left the country badly in debt”.

“Pakistan is stable now. That pressure [to stabilise the economy] has been relieved. Now I will go after them [the corrupt politicians]. “I’m making a high-powered enquiry commission with a one-point agenda that how did they raise the debt to

Rs.24,000 billion in 10 years?”

He said that the commission shall comprise the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency), IB (Intelligence Bureau), ISI (the Inter-services Intelligence Directorate), FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) and SECP (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan). “All those in power will be fully investigated by this commission which will prepare a report so that no one dare leave the country in tatters ever again.”

Political and economic observers take his post-budget speech as a ‘shield of excuses to defend unprecedented price hikes and new taxes worth of billions as people would not be satisfied rather get offended with the budget proposals.

Imran Khan showed his determination saying he could not be “blackmailed” with protests. “Even if my life goes, I will not leave these thieves alone. I had prayed to God to give me one chance — I will not leave them.”

“They were raising a hue and cry that the rupee has fallen. Were they not worried that if the economy is in such bad shape, they should help the new government trying to stabilise the economy.

“They tried their best to destabilise the economy. Three ambassadors expressed interest in making investments but remarked that there is no stability in the country.

“Were they not worried? I will tell you why. All their money is stashed abroad. The three big households only bring money to Pakistan when they need it.”

“When our rupee falls, their assets go up in value. Their interest is not aligned with the interest of Pakistan,” the premier added.

“For 22 years, I was saying our biggest problem is corruption. The people should know what happens when a corrupt leader comes. Their assets are all abroad, their Eids are abroad, their treatment is abroad […] a three-time prime minister whose sons are sitting abroad are saying we are not citizens [of Pakistan] and are not answerable. “They didn’t make one hospital where the Sharifs could seek treatment.”

Commenting over the recent arrests of the bigwigs, Prime Minister Imran said: “I am grateful to Allah, the big figures who are now jailed, no one could have imagined. “The judiciary is free today. The NAB chairman is not ours […] we didn’t appoint anyone. This is the new Pakistan and you will slowly see the independence in institutions.

“The NAB cases are old. I didn’t start them. We weren’t in power when Panama or the case against Shehbaz Sharif was started. So why are they [opposition] raising a hue and cry since day one? “My mistake is I didn’t cave under pressure and give them an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance]. The country fell into debt because of two NROs. “People are crying that Sharif and Zardari have been jailed […] both of them used to call each other corrupt. Nawaz Sharif jailed Zardari twice during his two tenures. “The problem we [PTI] are facing is how to run the government — this is the price we are paying for the NROs.”

The prime minister added that they [Nawaz and Zardari] came to an agreement that each would rule for five years and not say anything to each other. “The debt from Rs6,000bn has ballooned to Rs30,000bn. 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.

Without naming famous Ayan Ali case, Imran Khan said; “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 premier started his address by speaking about Riyasat-i-Madina. “My naya [new] Pakistan will be based on Riyasat-i-Madina. Remember my words: Pakistan will be a great nation.

“They say Riyasat-i-Madina is a 1400-year-old model […] it was a modern state,” he said. “Minorities were part and parcel of the state, everyone was equal in the eyes of the law. Ever since we came into power, I hear [the question]: ‘where is the new Pakistan? The state of Madina wasn’t this way from day one […] there was a process in turning it into a welfare state.”

The address, which was earlier slated for 9:15pm, was moved to 10:30pm but started a little before midnight. The reason of delay in speech was stated choosing the subjects and contents for the speech to answer the objections raised by the opposition.