ISLAMABAD: Heaping scorn on the opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday night announced establishment of a high-powered commission under him to probe as to how successive governments of the PPP and PML-N took Rs24 trillion loans during the last decade and brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy.

In his address to the nation broadcast by state-owned PTV, Mr Khan termed the first full-year budget of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government a representation of the values enshrined in the state of Madina and his vision for Naya Pakistan.

Mr Khan’s speech was disrupted for minutes on two occasions, apparently because of some technical fault at the PTV’s end.

Imran sees opposition leaders’ arrest as good omen

Accusing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari and their families of money laundering, the PM presented figures to inform the nation that their fortune had increased manifold.

Terming the Charter of Democracy signed by the PPP and the PML-N a ‘charter of corruption’, he said that people had been witnessing real change in the country as very powerful and influential persons were now facing accountability.

“I have been in office for over nine months... I thank our friendly countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China, for helping us in testing times. Until now, I have been facing pressure to stabilise [the economy of] Pakistan,” he said.

“Now I am ordering the establishment of a high-powered commission to ascertain what happened in the last decade and to bring to justice all those involved in bringing Pakistan to this condition.”

He said the commission would include representatives of intelligence agencies, the Federal Board of Revenue, Federal Investigation Agency and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and work under his (the PM’s) supervision.

He said that those who plagued the country with debt and corruption had no stakes in Pakistan as they had stashed all their wealth abroad.

He said that the opposition parties got united and were trying to blackmail the government because they wanted an NRO. “They may threaten my government, they may threaten my life, [but] they cannot deter me. I will bring everyone who has brought this country to this state to justice. This is my promise to the people of Pakistan.”

Prime Minister Khan said that all (state) institutions were free and faced no political obstruction or pressure.

He praised the armed forces for curtailing their expenditures to ensure that the government could spend more on socio-economic recovery of the country.

The PM also urged the people to avail the tax amnesty scheme, which will expire on June 30.

Earlier, speaking at a meeting of PTI’s parliamentary committee, he expressed satisfaction over the arrest of opposition leaders in corruption cases and termed it a “good omen” for the future of the country.

“The arrest of PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz and Altaf Hussain is obviously good for the country,” said the PM, according to a participant of the meeting.

The prime minister said the recent arrests showed that national institutions had been strengthened and across-the-board accountability was being conducted.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019