ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday decided to seek the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe the financial decisions taken during the last 10 years that resulted in the worst financial crises the country was in today.
“I will move [a] resolution in [my] personal capacity. I have discussed it with Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also approved the idea, directing that it should be done at the earliest,” Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said while briefing the media about the important decisions taken by the federal cabinet.
He said all those responsible for taking faulty economic decisions during the last decade would be held responsible
With PM Imran in the chair, the cabinet also approved the appointment of Air Marshal Arshad Malik as new chairman of the national flag carrier, in addition to deciding to holding a review the exit control list.
Clearing the ambiguity about the financial model of the recently announced Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the minister said state land will be pledged with commercial banks as collateral against which the banks would provide loans for the construction of houses to public.
About the interest rate on those loans, the minister said the proposed Naya Pakistan Housing Authority would negotiate with the banks in this regard, adding the rate would be kept at minimal level.
The minister said there was a need to find out real faces responsible for the current state of finances of the country. Through the resolution, he said, the house will be asked to form a parliamentary committee on the patron of a parliamentary commission that was formed to probe rigging allegations in the 2013 general elections.
With equal representation from the government and the opposition, the parliamentary committee would probe the worsening economic conditions spanning over a decade and identify the culprits and fix responsibility.
“Those responsible should be treated as state criminals and handed in exemplary punishment,” Chaudhry said.
He said the incumbent government was trying to improve the economic situation and recover looted public money.
Responding to a question, the minister said the National Assembly speaker had issued the order for the production of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in spite of the fact that such orders cannot be issued for an accused who is on remand.
He said it was surprising that the opposition was criticising the economic situation adding it was they that were responsible for the current mess the country was in.
The cabinet approved the appointment of Air Marshal Arshad Malik as new chairman of the Pakistan International Airlines. Muhammad Mian Sumro will be chairman of the privatisation commission, while Awan Abbas will head the Pakistan Baitul Mal.
Taking about the deteriorating financial situation of the national flag carrier, the information minister said PIA was facing over Rs2 billion per month operational losses, adding the new chief had been appointed considering his professionalism in the field.
He said due process would be followed to fill the PIA’s CEO slot. He said the finance ministry had been directed to work on the PIA restructuring plan and submit the same with the cabinet for its approval.
The minister informed the media that the cabinet had also decided to conduct a thorough performance audit of the New Islamabad International Airport.
He said the cabinet directed the NAB chairman to enhance the bureau’s performance by expediting pending inquiries and investigations against corrupt.
“NAB has been asked to complete pending investigations into New Islamabad International Airport and other high profile cases,” the minister said.
The minister said there were over 3,000 people on the exit control list currently. The prime minister, he said, had directed the interior minister to review the ECL and remove the names of all those who are innocent and placed on no-fly list for no reason.
To a question about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s application for the removal of his name from the ECL, the minister said, “the application will be considered once placed before the cabinet”.
Talking about other decisions, the minister said the cabinet also accorded approval to constitute a committee headed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood that will look into the matters of K-Electric and Shanghai Electric.
Similarly, approval has also been given to release salaries of the Pakistan Steel Mills’ employees for the month of August.
He said the prime minister also directed placing the proposed reforms in the FBR before the federal cabinet for approval at the earliest.
The cabinet also approved relaxation of PPRA rules for the procurement of urea for Rabi crops.
The minister said soon a crackdown would be launched against tobacco and paint manufacturing industries and importers of smuggled cell phones. “Smuggled mobile phones will not be functional by the end of this year,” he said.
He said the prime minister had convened a meeting of the SBP to channelise foreign remittances that come through informal channels to Pakistan.
To a question, he said the whistleblower act would be implemented at the earliest and if parliament was not in session then it would be issued through a presidential ordinance.
The prime minister also directed the finance ministry to present a detailed analysis of spending of foreign loans obtained by the previous governments to the cabinet.
“The cabinet should be informed that which mega projects were initiated by obtaining foreign loans,” the prime minister said in a message recorded during the cabinet meeting.