ISLAMABAD: Urging people not to glorify corrupt elements, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said his dream of Naya Pakistan would turn into reality when the youth of the country exposed those who had looted the national wealth and stashed it abroad.
“Although Naya Pakistan is in the making, the dream will come true only when the youth participate in the process and chase the looters,” the prime minister said while addressing the launching ceremony of “Report Corruption” mobile application introduced by the Anti-Corruption Establishment of Punjab.
“Unfortunately, people shower flowers on looters and corrupt people. The whole nation will have to take part in the government’s ongoing ‘jihad’ against corruption by exposing corrupt elements in society,” he said.
The app was introduced on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday.
The mobile application can be used to report corruption cases falling in the jurisdiction of Punjab with the facility of uploading complaints, evidence in the form of videos/images/documents.
PM laments people shower flowers on looters and corrupt people
During his speech, Prime Minister Khan continued bashing opposition leaders, especially those belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), and said launching useless mega projects was one of the ways of getting kickbacks and commission. “Multan Metro Bus is one of the examples of such projects because it was launched [by the PML-N’s last government] without any need and desire of the people of Multan and now the project is incurring losses of billions of rupees,” he added.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, SAPM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and other cabinet members attended the ceremony.
The prime minister urged the chief minister to highlight the achievements of the Punjab government to make people know the benefit of the anti-corruption drive launched by the provincial government. “The Punjab government has retrieved encroached state land worth Rs130 billion and recovered Rs5bn from corrupt elements. But this has not been highlighted in the media,” he added.
He said the land retrieved by the Punjab government could be used for welfare projects like low-cost housing units for those who could not afford to build their own houses.
Citing examples of Nigeria and Congo and that of Switzerland, PM Khan said the corruption-free countries were rich even without having resources, but on the other hand some states despite having ample resources were poor because of corruption.
“Chinese economy is considered the fastest growing economy only because the Chinese people as well as the government arose against corrupt elements and about 400 people of minister level were jailed on corruption charges,” he said, adding that Chinese people considered President Xi Jinping as a real statesman because they had realised that corruption was the major reason to beget poverty.
Referring to anti-corruption movements in Chili, Iraq and other states, the prime minister said it was a changed world where no one could conceal corruption. “In the United States, the people were caught on charges of corruption they had committed even three decades ago. They had a popular maxim ‘you can run but cannot hide’,” he added.
PM Khan said the corrupt people laundered the looted money abroad in dollars which impacted the local currency and led to reduction in national resources. He said corrupt societies could never attract investment, adding that overseas Pakistanis were keen to invest their capital in their homeland once the government eliminated social evil.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Buzdar said the launch of the mobile application was a remarkable achievement as it would enable the people to report corruption through their mobile phones. The provincial government, he said, had retrieved land valuing Rs132bn from illegal occupation, besides recovering Rs4.75bn from corrupt people. He said the government vowed neither to commit any corruption nor let anyone else to do so.
Shahzad Akbar said that around Rs132bn had been recovered during one-and-a-half years of the PTI-led Punjab government. He said that after launching the mobile application, the provincial government had planned to digitalise the entire anti-corruption department.
The Punjab anti-corruption director general said that during the past 16 months, they had received 31,746 complaints and held 6,883 inquiries into these cases. A total of Rs1,798.82 million had been recovered and land worth Rs12,738.95m had been retrieved from illegal occupation.
PM meets economic team
Prime Minister Khan held a meeting on the country’s economic situation, progress in pending court cases relating to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), remittances, restoration of Pakistan Steel Mills and measures to provide relief to the masses.
He said the country’s economy, which was facing serious crisis, was getting stable. “The improvement in economic stability and economic prosperity is also being acknowledged by international institutions which restored the confidence of not only domestic but also foreign investors and business community,” he said during the meeting with his economic team.
PM Khan said it was regrettable that certain elements were misinterpreting and misleading people on important national issues such as economy for personal gain. “To counter such mafias it is necessary to ensure the public’s access to factual information,” he added.
The prime minister directed the economic team to keep the public informed about every effort and progress made for improving the economy so that people could reject negative propaganda against the government.
“After achieving economic stability, the government has made a concerted effort to provide all possible relief to the people despite limited resources so that the burden on the low income and poor people could be reduced,” he said, adding that the government was also paying attention on measures against artificial storage and illegal profiteering on essential commodities.
PM Khan directed the economic team to resolve issues relating to the economy on a priority basis so that the process of economic development could continue without any interruption.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019