ISLAMABAD: After two days of hard hitting on the issue of corruption, the National Accountability Bureau on Friday turned its guns on the Punjab government, holding it responsible for 65 per cent of total corruption in the country.
“Since 65 per cent of the country’s total population lives in Punjab, major responsibility lies on the provincial government to control corruption,’ NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal told Dawn. The bureau, he said, wanted to dispel an impression that only the federal government was responsible for unprecedented corruption in the country. Both the federal and provincial governments were responsible for that, he added.
NAB chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari urged a newly-formed four-member committee of the cabinet to involve the Punjab government in its efforts to weed out corruption.
According to an official press release, the NAB chief welcomed the committee in a telephonic conversation with its head Law Minister Farooq H. Naek and requested for an early meeting of the body. “The Punjab government must be asked to attend the meeting since Punjab represents majority of the country and shares 65 per cent of responsibility,” he said.
Asked if the Punjab government was responsible for 65 per cent corruption in the country why NAB had not directly contacted it, the NAB spokesman said since the committee had been constituted by the federal government, it was requested to bring the provincial government in the loop.
When contacted, Punjab government’s spokesman and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N Pervez Rashid said the provincial government would not send its representative to any meeting of the cabinet committee. “How can we sit with those who are responsible for unprecedented corruption?”
He said the NAB chief had not blamed the Punjab government for any corruption, but suggested that it could control corruption on the level of common man.
“We don’t disagree with NAB’s observation that 65 per cent corruption is being committed at the level of common people in Punjab, but it does not mean that the Punjab government is responsible for this,” he said.