Imran Khan to form high-powered commission to probe corruption

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan late on Tuesday announced that he will form a high-powered commission to investigate graft in the last one decade, at a time when the country is grappling to overcome a severe financial crisis.

In his address to the nation in the second consecutive day, Khan said that the enquiry will probe how Pakistan’s debt had increased from Rs 6,000 to Rs 24,000 accumulated in the country in the last 10 years.

“I am coming after everyone who plundered public wealth,” The Express Tribune quoted the cricketer-turned-politician as saying while making a veiled attack at the PML-N and PPP parties.
This is Khan’s first address after his government had presented their maiden federal budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The commission would have officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Khan said.

Sharpening his attack on the Opposition, Khan alleged that PML-N and PPP had plundered the country and said that his government was taking steps in stabilising the economy, despite a fall in Pakistani rupee.

“They (the opposition) have been lambasting us that the rupee has fallen, instead they should see that we are trying to stabilise the economy,” Khan said.

“Three ambassadors wanted to invest in Pakistan but backed out because our economy was not stable at the time,” he added.

Khan, whose party was elected on an anti-corruption plank last year, alleged that Opposition did not give importance to public welfare and only indulged in corruption by stashing black money abroad. “When our rupee falls, their assets go up in value,” he said.

The cricketer-turned-politician asserted that the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was done under former president Pervez Musharraf’s government to hide corruption and money laundering of the opposition parties.

Talking about the budget presented by his government, Khan said it reflected the “Naya (new) Pakistan” vision.

“It is a testament to the’ Naya Pakistan’ vision that the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wants to create,” he added.

The address was first scheduled to be aired at 9:15 pm (local time) but was deferred to 10:30 pm (local time). The address was again delayed for the second time and it aired finally at 11:45 pm (local time).

On Monday, Khan had urged his countrymen to declare their assets and pay off taxes by June 30.

“In the last ten years, Pakistan debt went from Rs 6,000 crore to 30,000 crores. We need some urgent steps to bring the country out of this crisis. I am appealing to all of you to take part in the Asset Declaration Scheme that we have brought because if we don’t pay taxes, we will not be able to raise our country up,” he had said while addressing the nation.

Interestingly, last month, the Pakistan government had reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package of USD 6 billion.

Besides the IMF’s assistance, Pakistan will receive additional funds worth nearly USD 2-3 billion from institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.