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LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday launched a tirade against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, enumerating his alleged corruption and inability to check wastage of public money in mega projects spanning PML-N’s all three tenures.

At a news conference here, Khan said the PML-N leaders led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been subjecting the masses to a vicious circle that helped them (Sharif family) expand their businesses, make money, `buy’ people and then grab power.

Alleging that the Sharif family was expanding its businesses in China and India on behalf of the Pakistan government, Khan listed different projects of the PML-N government, including Nandipur Power Project, LNG project, Neelum Jhelum Project, Metro Bus, Daanish Schools, Islamabad airport etc. He also rapped the government over (mis)management of circular debt, re-aligning of Pak-China Economic Corridor, distribution of LDA plots, “failure” of Sasti Roti scheme and motorway.

Saying these projects had cost the nation quite dearly, he added that the “experienced” PML-N government also failed the nation by wasting billions of rupees owing to its inability and corrupt practices while completing mega projects.

Flanked by party’s national organiser Shah Mahmood Qureshi and others, the PTI chief said Nawaz Sharif used his China tours for signing contracts of his family’s businesses. He asked why no chief minister except Shahbaz Sharif was taken to China.

Similarly, he said Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz was meeting with Indian businessmen to expand his family’s businesses – and “weakening” Pakistan. He alleged the Sharif family was also planning to establish two sugar mills in South Punjab, violating the Lahore High Court orders.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif’s spokesman rejected Imran Khan’s allegations that prime minister had earned $60 million in a business with India. He also rejected the PTI chief’s accusation that the Sharif family was setting up two new sugar mills in south Punjab.

“The Sharif family will move courts against Imran Khan’s false accusations and seek legal remedy,” the spokesman asserted.

Discussing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Imran Khan said the Chinese initiative was meant for alleviating poverty from its (China’s) underdeveloped Eastern parts by developing a link with Gawadar through the shortest possible sea route. While suggesting that Pakistan should have benefited from the initiative, Khan regretted the Sharifs with a view to develop their family businesses realigned the CPEC through Punjab instead of its natural route via Dera Ismail Khan.

“The (other) three provinces are condemning Punjab that will ultimately fan (inter-provincial) hatred and weaken the federation,” he said.

Criticising the government for failing to end power outages, he said Nepra report suggested that load-shedding could not be ended till 2020. He said Nepra also pointed out that the government over-billed electricity consumers by 70 per cent.

Lambasting the PML-N government over its good governance claim, PTI chief said the Auditor General of Pakistan had pointed out misappropriation of Rs980 billion in Wapda. Saying the Nandipur Power Project’s cost had swelled to Rs84 billion, he demanded, “The Asian Development Bank should be asked to audit the Nandipur project.”

Khan demanded that the 100 megawatt Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park project in Bahawalpur should also be probed into to determine why did the Punjab government go for the most costly power generation scheme. Similarly, he said, the Neelum-Jehlum Project was being delayed by allocating just Rs10 billion instead of the required Rs50 billion.

The PTI chief alleged that the government was going to spend billions of dollars on LNG project without informing the taxpayers, seeking its independent audit.

Quoting from Raymond W Baker’s book ‘Capitalism’s Achilles Heel’, he said Nawaz Sharif had made some Rs42 billion through corruption in the Motorway project alone.

He alleged that Nawaz Sharif had distributed some 3,000 LDA plots to “buy” politicians, besides squandering public money on Metro Bus and Sasti Rooti.

Khan asked the PTI workers and supporters from across Punjab to reach Mozang Chungi on Friday (today) for the final public meeting ahead of the NA-122 and PP-147 by-election.

Quite surprisingly, Khan twice asked the constituency residents to receive money from the PML-N but vote for the “Bat”, his party’s election symbol, adding that people’s response on Oct 11 would determine whether they wanted a “Naya Pakistan” or continue groping in the dark.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2015

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