Chaudhry accuses Zardari of failing to declare apartment in US to ECP

Published December 19, 2018
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says investigative agencies have a free hand to hold inquiries without discrimination. — File photo
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry says investigative agencies have a free hand to hold inquiries without discrimination. — File photo

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday accused former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari of failing to mention an apartment that he allegedly owns in the United States in a declaration submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Chaudhry also said that his party's Khurram Sherzaman will soon file a reference against Zardari for not declaring the property in his nomination papers.

“He [Zardari] was required to declare that property under Articles 62 and 63, which he didn’t. He is therefore not eligible to be a lawmaker,” he said.

Chaudhry, who made the allegation while addressing the media in Islamabad, also said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was delivering on its promise of a "corruption-free Pakistan".

He further said that investigative agencies had been given a "free hand" to investigate any politician — regardless of the party they belonged to — whose activities are found to be suspicious.

When asked about an ongoing inquiry against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Chaudhry said that the National Accountability Bureau was investigating the matter.

"To the people who [...] point at PTI members and claim that they are not being held accountable [for their actions]: We were not in power for the past 10 years. For [the past] five years, we were in the KP government [only] and [that tenure] remained scandal free," the minister said while arguing that the ongoing corruption references against key opposition lawmakers had been initiated during the PML-N's tenure.

The information minister further said that "the world could see" that Pakistan's system were becoming more transparent due to the PTI's anti-corruption stance.

That stance had also encouraged increased investments in the country, he claimed. He pointed out that British Airways had resumed its flights to Pakistan and Exxon Mobil was also planning to invest in the country.

Furthermore, he claimed, Pakistan's ranking on travel advisories issued by countries like Portugal and France had improved.

PTI government's policies are based on compassion

Chaudhry said that the difference between Prime Minister Imran Khan and past governments was that the former's policies were based on "compassion". He referred to the repatriation of Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari and said that his return was an example of the government's compassion.

He also recalled that the premier had asked Indian journalists — who had visited Pakistan to attend the Kartarpur border crossing ceremony — to urge their government to put an end to offences committed by state forces against Kashmiri citizens in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

"He [the prime minister] said that we [India and Pakistan] can talk about [the Kashmir issue], but the injustices against Kashmiri citizens have to stop," Chaudhry said.

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