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No more leniency for corrupt leaders: Imran

February 10, 2019

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HEAD BALLOKI: Schoolchildren plant saplings in connection with the 10 billion trees tsunami project at Balloki Nature Reserve Project on Saturday.—APP
HEAD BALLOKI: Schoolchildren plant saplings in connection with the 10 billion trees tsunami project at Balloki Nature Reserve Project on Saturday.—APP

SHEIKHUPURA: Terming the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) treachery to Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday declared that those who had made the country bankrupt or those involved in corruption would no longer be allowed to walk away free.

While addressing the launching ceremony of a countrywide plantation drive in the Balloki area of Nankana Sahab district, Mr Khan said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government tried its level best to accommodate the opposition and let the parliament work during the past five months, but it would no longer give any concession to the corrupt leaders.

The previous two concessions given by General Musharraf under the NRO to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari had caused unprecedented loss to the country, he said, lamenting that the foreign loans surged over five times since 2006 due to the massive corruption of the PML-N and PPP governments.

Mr Khan said Gen Musharraf allowed Mr Sharif to leave the country under the NRO to save his own seat despite the fact that there was an accountability reference in court with concrete evidence, including Ishaq Dar’s confessional statement and a BBC documentary against the massive corruption of the PML-N supremo. He said the other NRO that damaged the country was given to Mr Zardari by Gen Musharraf though Rs2 billion of this nation had been spent on the investigation of the major corruption cases.

PM says concessions given by Musharraf to PML-N, PPP leaders damaged Pakistan; launches countrywide plantation drive in Balloki

Mr Khan said those allegedly involved in fake bank accounts by siphoning off billions of rupees and owners of illegal foreign assets were summoning the NAB authorities in the parliament.

Comparing past governments with his PTI government, he said three ministers had resigned on allegations of corruption within the past five months. “This is the change,” he said.

HEAD BALLOKI: Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the gathering at the inaugural ceremony of Balloki Nature Reserve Project at District Nankana Sahab.—APP
HEAD BALLOKI: Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the gathering at the inaugural ceremony of Balloki Nature Reserve Project at District Nankana Sahab.—APP

Expressing serious concern over the country’s dwindling forest cover, Mr Khan said he had seen the destruction of Chhanga Manga, Kundian, Mianwali and Chichawatni forests over the years. He said the Korang Park in front of his Banigala residence used to be a huge public park but it shrank over the years due to massive encroachment. He said the previous PML-N government cut 70 per cent of trees in Lahore, which was causing respiratory problems for locals, particularly children and the older population. The hospitals in Lahore were packed with people suffering from lung diseases, he added.

He said the plantation campaign was a step towards his 10 billion trees tsunami project. He appreciated deputy commissioner Raja Mansoor Ahmad to get 2,500-acre forest land retrieved from the influential land grabbers and announced that it would be turned into a park and named after Baba Guru Nanak.

Baba Guru Nanak University

He also praised retired brigadier Ijaz Shah for raising the demand for the establishment of a university in Nankana Sahab district. He said the government would establish Baba Guru Nanak University in the district. He also announced that the 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak would be celebrated at Kartarpur with full vigour in November this year.

Earlier, he told the young crowd that Pakistan was the eighth most affected country in the world due to climate change and asked them to plant as many trees as they could for themselves and their country.

Accompanied by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Adviser to prime minister on climate change Amin Aslam and other government officials, the prime minister also planted a Ficus virens sapling to kick-start the campaign.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019