ISLAMABAD: Amid efforts by the Pakistan Democratic Movement to overthrow the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday took full advantage to oppose the opposition using a new scandal that emerged following revelations by the UK Broadsheet-based asset recovery firm LLC and said the company had set its spotlight in Panama on the corruption of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Broadsheet saga has not only plunged the opposition into hot water but the government has also come under fierce criticism from the opposition with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) intelligence secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb saying in a statement that Imran Khan in his desperation to get an NRO (Ordinance of National Reconciliation) for his rule has given the nations $ 25 million for a company which had deceived Pakistan during the era of Pervez Musharrafs.
Prime Minister Khan started the day with some of his tweets about corruption Nawaz Sharifs allegedly exposed by Broadsheet and later in a function at the headquarters of the Supreme National Authority (NHA) he again criticized the former Prime Minister and the opposition.
In the evening, the prime minister met with his spokesmen and directed them to forcefully expose the corruption and money laundering of opposition leaders revealed by Broadsheet in the media and asked the Sharif family why they were not suing Broadsheet if the firm was telling lies.
PML-N says Imran paid $ 25 million to the British firm which deceived Pakistan during the Musharraf era
Meanwhile, Broadsheet LLC owner Kaveh Maussavi said in an interview with Samaa TV on Wednesday that he had shared with adviser to Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar information about $ 1 billion in money laundering by an influential person in Pakistan.
In his tweets, the prime minister said: Broadsheet has once again exposed the massive scale of corruption and money laundering of our ruling elites. He said the same people had previously been exposed by the Panama Papers.
These elites cannot hide behind the card of victimization in these international revelations, he added. The prime minister said the revelations in the leaflets had repeatedly exposed what he had said in his 24-year fight against corruption which was the biggest threat to the country’s progress.
These elites come to power and plunder the country. They do money laundering to collect their badly earned profits abroad, safe from domestic prosecution. Then they use their political influence to get NROs. So they kept their plundered property safe, he said, adding that the nation suffered as a result.
Not only is the wealth of nations stolen by the elites, the taxpayers’ money, paid for the recovery of this wealth, was wasted because of the NROs. These discoveries [are the] the tip of the iceberg. We want full transparency from Broadsheet on our money laundering elites and on who stopped the investigation, he wrote on Twitter.
In his speech at NHA headquarters, the prime minister said that according to Broadsheet revelations, a Pakistani political figure had transferred $ 1 billion from Saudi Arabia to the UK.
According to a spokesman, the prime minister said the wide-ranging investigations were halted in 2002 following the departure of Nawaz Sharifs to Saudi Arabia during the era of former dictator Gen Pervez Musharrafs.
The day before, the prime minister had formed an inter-ministerial committee after Kaveh Moussavi said Broadsheet had been influenced by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others and that there was evidence of money laundering by several other Pakistanis. Mr Maussavi said in the interview that Anjum Dar, who claimed to be a relative of Nawaz Sharif, met with him in London and offered $ 25 million in bribes to stop the investigation against Sharifs.
Another spokesman quoted the prime minister as saying: Both Nawaz Sharif and the owner of Broadsheet are in London these days and why Sharifs are not taking him to court.
The prime minister said that when Nawaz Sharif moved to the Arab world in 2002, the Musharraf government had lost interest in responsibility and the deal with Broadsheet had been canceled.
Mr Khan said the firm is investigating 200 megabytes of corruption and money laundering cases involving senior Pakistani politicians and others.
The Broadsheet owner said in the interview that he had met with Prime Minister’s advisor Shahzad Akbar in 2018 and despite the cancellation of the agreement with the firm, he shared some important information (as a gesture of goodwill) with the latter regarding the clearing of money from influential Pakistanis.
Prime Minister Khan said when leaders got into corruption it made the whole system corrupt. On the one hand, our country is facing the burden of huge debts and, on the other hand, political leaders own billions of dollars in property and wealth abroad, he added.
Mr. Khan also cited the large expenditures made through public kittens by previous rulers during their visits abroad and their aristocratic dormitory and accommodation in luxury hotels, compared to the simplicity adopted by Western leaders.
He stressed the need to implement e-government in all federal ministries and departments, including the Federal Revenue Board (FBR), within the next six months, and said digitalisation was a key to controlling corruption and ensuring transparency in the system. .
Unfortunately, corrupt elements and the mafia being beneficiaries of the status quo and having small interests do not want change and digitalization that would eliminate the space for corruption, he added.
The Prime Minister said that since bribery had its roots and acceptability in the system, e-government and digitalization were vital to defeat it. He said the digitalisation of the country’s institutions, including the NHA and FBR, in addition to ensuring transparency, would also help generate more revenue to be spent on human development, education, health and socio-economic upgrading of the masses, especially of the poor.
In her statement, PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb said Imran Khan was not concerned about the precarious situation of the people under his rule. He does not worry about 400 400 billion bribed in the sugar scandal, $ 200 billion in flour corruption, $ 500 billion in public medicine and $ 122 billion in LNG procurement; he thinks only of politically victimizing the opposition to use an NRO for himself, she said, adding that for this purpose he had paid $ 25 million of nations money to Broadsheet without any direct legal contract with the government.
She said former dictator General Musharraf, in his fixation on targeting his rivals, had hired Broadsheet for Rs 6 billion and provided a list of those he wanted to pursue, but later asked the firm to exclude those who had joined to in his dictatorial rule.
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the NAB was already pursuing cases updated by the Broadsheets owner and most of them were being tried in courts. Now let the courts decide on these issues and avoid giving them to the media, he added.
Published in Agim, 14 January 2021
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