Federal Cabinet forms committee to probe Broadsheet matter

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: On the recommendation of Ministerial Inquiry Committee led by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday constituted a committee headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court or High Court to investigate the Broadsheet matter, fix the responsibility on those who had illegally benefitted themselves, and submit its report within 45 days.

Addressing a press conference flanked by Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister for Human Rights Dr Shirin Mazari, members of the ministerial committee, Senator Shibli Faraz said the committee would comprise one representative each of Federal Investigation Agency and Attorney  General of Pakistan, besides a senior advocate to be nominated by the prime minister.

He said the Broadsheet verdict was based on facts about the corruption stories of previous rulers. It contained the details of corruption of loot and plunder committed before 2000, but another  inquiry was required to look into the wrongdoings done after 2000.

Shibli Faraz said the former rulers fully benefitted from the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and again went on the looting spree of national wealth sans any remorse and shame. The leaders of opposition parties, while in power, misappropriated the national exchequer time and again, he said, adding they had unfortunately gathered under the umbrella of  Pakistan Democratic Movement to seek another NRO.

The minister thanked the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for staying away from the  protest of Pakistan Democratic Movement outside the office of Election Commission  of Pakistan. In fact the PDM’s protest campaign had fizzled out as the people had rejected its narrative.

To a question, Shibli Faraz said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government (PTI) had not unearthed the hidden properties of the Sharif family. The Broadsheet, an impartial asset recovery firm which had no grudge against the Sharifs, had exposed their hidden assets. The inquiry committee had been mandated to share its findings within 45 days, he added.

The minister said the government was only interested in bringing back the looted and plundered money stashed abroad, and it would action against the corrupt irrespective of their party affiliations. Surrey Palace, Swiss accounts, Omni case, fake bank accounts case,  – all were on the radar of the committee, he replied to a questioner. The country, he said, had plunged into the quagmire of debts due to the reckless extravagant spending of the past governments. The NRO like concessions given to the corrupt elements in the past had inflicted unprecedented loss to the national exchequer. He said the PDM had noting to do with democracy as its leaders were only interested in getting concessions on the pattern of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). They were still optimistic about getting the NRO, but the incumbent government would disappoint them.

To another question, he said Maulana Fazlur Rehman had lost his mental balance. He had to address the empty chairs as he was given the podium at the end of the PDM gatherings. Rejecting the impression that the on-going accountability process was one-sided , he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had zero tolerance for any wrongdoer within the party or the government. As the PM had no business interest, he would not allow a lopsided accountability and would punish the corrupt irrespective of party affiliations.

He recalled that the prime minister had kicked out 20 members of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for corruption in the Senate elections. The PTI would never compromise over accountability, he added.