Bilawal should help clear foreign debt by returning public money stashed in Swiss banks: Farrukh
Associated Press Of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Jun 4 —Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Friday asked Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto to help the government clear foreign debts by bringing back the looted public money stashed by his father Asif Ali Zardari abroad.
“If you (Bilawal) are really concerned about the foreign loans then bring back the money dumped by your father in Swiss banks, halt the process of money laundering through (characters like) Ayan Ali, and return money hoarded through ‘Omni groups’ in fake bank accounts,” he said while criticizing the PPP leader over his misleading presser on the government’s economic achievements.
The minister told a press conference that the opposition parties were perturbed over the historic triumphs of present government on the economic front, and were trying to mislead the public through incorrect data.
He reminded Bilawal about the PPP-led government’s deal with the International Monetary Fund in 2008 and the unprecedented surge of 32 per cent in the foreign loans to $61 billion from $46 billion at the end of its tenure in 2013.
The PPP leaders, he said, should not lecture on inflation as their party’s government tenure was marred by load-shedding of gas and electricity, with depreciation of rupee against dollar to Rs 95 from Rs 62.
Farrukh Habib said instead of criticizing the Federal Government, Bilawal should inform the public about the initiatives taken by his party’s Sindh government for poverty alleviation, jobs creation and industrialization.
The PPP had been ruling the province for the last 13 years, with rampant corruption, bad governance and injustice, he added.
It was the Sindh government, which had held the “common rats” responsible for misappropriation of wheat worth Rs 1,400 billion instead of taking action against those “fat rats” sitting at the Bilawal House, who had actually minted the money at public expense, the minister said.
He said over 500 “corrupt” officers, who had plea bargains with the National Accountability Bureau, were ruling the roost, enjoying official perks and privileges all across Sindh.
He cited the examples of Muzaffar Tappi and Dr Asim Hussain, and said the Sindh government had never taken action against the corrupt elements, who had rather been “rewarded” by highest posts in the public departments.
On the contrary, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan had set an example of accountability by taking action against his own close associates.
Before Imran Khan (joining politics), he said, corruption was not a matter of public debate in Pakistan and it was rather another name of “striking deals”. Even today, “your (Bilawal’s) all efforts are meant to evade the accountability process and get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance),” he added.
Farrukh Habib also lamented politicking on the water issue and said the Sindh government should explain as to why the tail enders in the province were not getting water due to mismanagement of its irrigation department.
He asked the provincial government to take action against an officer of the irrigation department who had reportedly given 20 illegal water connections from a canal in Badin on the eve of a by-election.
Around 1,600 cusecs water, he said, was released from the Sukkar Canal to Kotri, but the latter received only half of it as around 8,000 cusecs water was diverted to the lands of some influential persons of Nawab Shah and other areas.
The minister said with a strong commitment to steer the country out of economic crisis, Prime Minister Imran Khan put it on the path of sustainable growth despite many challenges on external and internal fronts, including locusts attack, border tension with India, opposition blackmailing on national issues such as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) legislation and threats of en masse resignation.
Highlighting the PTI government’s economic performance, he said all the economic indicators were on upward trajectory and the country’s projected economic growth was at 4 per cent as compared to the other regional economies, which registered a negative growth.
He said the current account remained $1 billion surplus during the ongoing financial year, exports surged by 13.5 per cent, remittances crossed $24 billion, large-scale manufacturing grew by 9 percent, and one billion dollars was deposited in the Roshan Digital Bank Account.
Sale of cars, bikes, tractors and cement had gone up substantially while the tax collection had reached to over Rs 4,100 billion which reflected that the country was progressing at rapid pace under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he added.
Farrukh Habib said an amount of Rs 1,100 billion was being given to the farmers, out of which Rs 500 billion was dedicated to the wheat growers. The country produced 27.3 million tonnes of wheat due to prudent agro-policies of the incumbent government, he added.
Reminding Bilawal of the Ehsaas initiative’s novelty, he said all the projects of social protection launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan were “new” and “fresh”, citing names of some national level programmes, rolled out under the umbrella of Ehsaas including Ehsaas Kafalaat, saving accounts, emergency cash, scholarships, interest-free loans and Kafalaat for special persons.
The minister said the PPP used the BISP to commit corruption as 850,000 undeserving people were enlisted in the programme during its tenure. It became an epitome of systematic corruption during the PPP rule, he added.
He said it was the incumbent government, which had used modern technologies to exclude 0.85 million undeserving beneficiaries from the welfare programme after thorough scrutiny.
The beneficiaries also included the government officers of Grade 17 to 21, he further added.
“You (Bilawal) had promoted the mafia in every sector,” the minister said, asking him to name any institution in Sindh in which an improvement was brought.
Farrukh Habib said the PPP leadership should not lecture the government on governance as they only had expertise in fake accounts and loot and plunder.
“When a person does not know anything about economy, he should avoid issuing wrong statements on such important matters,” he advised, adding the only qualification of Bilawal for the PPP chairmanship was ‘parchi’.
“You are worried as you know that Prime Minister Imran Khan is giving loans to poor people for homes,” he said, adding so far applications for a large number of loans worth Rs 70 billion had been received by the banks, out which Rs 22 billion cases had already been approved.
He said the government had given health cards to the entire population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Rs 10 billion amount had been spent on the health of people under the initiative, he added.
He said the programme was being replicated across Punjab to provide health cards to its every person in line with the prime minister’s vision, who had been taking initiative to uplift the downtrodden segments of the society.
The minister asked Bilawal as to when his government in Sindh would provide such facilities to its dwellers.
As regards the electoral reforms, he said Electronic Voting Machines were being used in some 20 countries to hold elections, All-out efforts would be made to give right to franchise to nine million overseas Pakistanis residing across the globe, as their contribution to the national development could not be ignored, he added.
Farrukh said that both the PPP and the PML-N were afraid of the electoral reforms, and that was why they were creating hurdles in introducing of the EVMs in next general elections.
He regretted that the PPP had not procured a single dose of the coronavirus vaccines so far, and instead it was trying to undermine the Federal Government’s coronavirus response.