Govt rules out meeting opposition’s terms for support on FATF bills

Updated 31 Jul 2020


Information Minister Shibli Faraz says Bilawal has no moral ground to talk about corruption. — DawnNewsTV/File
Information Minister Shibli Faraz says Bilawal has no moral ground to talk about corruption. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz has said that the government will not be blackmailed by opposition parties for their support in parliament to pass bills relating to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the minister said the government could not give NRO to the opposition because the country would collapse if that was done.

“While we are making amendments to relevant laws to meet the FATF requirements, they wanted side by side amendments to the NAB laws only to protect their corruption,” he said.

Mocking the amendments suggested by the opposition, hinting at the Pakistan Peoples Party, Mr Faraz smiled sarcastically and showed a document to the media. “This is what they want to redefine corruption by describing that the minimum corruption amount for filing a NAB reference has to be Rs1 billion.”

He said an NRO could not be given to the leaders of opposition parties because the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s politics was based on accountability and transparency.

Says Bilawal has no moral ground to talk about corruption

“We do not tolerate our own people over the issue of corruption so how can anybody expect us to give some breathing space to them.”

Mr Faraz said the government could not give an NRO to the opposition parties even if it wanted to do so because the country would collapse.

He, however, did not say whether the country’s collapse will be political or economic. He slammed both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the PPP for not only being corrupt but also creating a circle of likeminded people around them.

The minister said Imran Khan was a leader who did good deeds before entering politics. He gave the whole money trail to the court.

Responding to allegations levelled by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari against the prime minister, he said Imran Khan had earned money honestly, but his assets were far less than that of the PPP chairman.

“There is no moral ground for Bilawal to talk about corruption as there are many questions about him and his family being honest and their transparency,” he said.

Mr Faraz said Bilawal was either ignorant or was not telling the truth about his family’s corruption. “He should inform the nation about Surrey Palace, millions of dollars stashed by his family in Swiss accounts, scores of properties in Karachi bought recently and the activities of the Omni Group,” he added.

He advised Bilawal to ask the advisers to the Sindh chief minister to declare their assets as was done by the prime minister.

The minister asked the opposition parties to apologise to the nation at a multi-party conference and bring the looted money back to the country.

In reply a question about the assets abroad belonging to PTI members, including the advisers to the PM, he said the government wanted that the ill-gotten money stashed abroad by anyone should be brought back to Pakistan.

“Shahzad Akbar and Zulfi Bukhari have made money outside the country when they were not in politics unlike those who used politics to make money when they were in power,” Mr Faraz said.

The information minister said it was too early to comment on the reasons for the recent resignation of two special assistants to the PM.

He appealed to the nation to abide by the standard operating procedures during Eid days to avoid resurgence of the coronavirus infection.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2020