Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry reiterated on Tuesday that the government was committed to holding itself accountable despite having “no political opposition” as two major opponents, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, have “contested their last elections”.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Fawad termed Monday’s federal cabinet briefing a routine exercise which “only seemed extraordinary as there has never been accountability of ministers before”.
Further dismissing the political standing of PML-N and PPP supremos, the information minister said the incumbent government has chosen to be accountable to the people as it respects the mandate it was given.
“The only suspense left in the lives of the deposed prime minister and former president pertains to whether they will be able to spend their life at home or in jail. Their struggles revolves around courts and corruption cases and hiding looted money.”
“PM Imran’s ideology is based on accountability. Whether you are a bureaucrat or a minister – you will be held accountable,” he added.
Recalling the cricketer-turned-politician’s 22-year political struggle, Fawad said the premier valued power and respected the responsibilities associated with it.
“He was ridiculed for auctioning luxury cars and buffaloes. The premier sent a clear message to his ministers that this government will be different than the previous ones. Everyone will be held accountable for taxpayers’ money. Imran’s government worries about every single penny spent under its watch.”
Fawad further criticised Nawaz and Zardari and claimed they had attained power without striving hence they did not value it. “Their induction into politics led to a rise in mediocrity. The governance, system and political sphere become mediocre because the leaders were mediocre.”
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader also asked why Nawaz used the national exchequer for his medical bills if he claims to have family money.
Responding to criticism on widening the tax-baseFawad blamed the PPP and PML-N governments for leaving the country in an economic crisis. “They used the loans to further their lavish lifestyles,” he alleged.
He added the incumbent government was “trying to undo the damage” by improving the taxation system to curb tax evasion.
“The tax on luxury imports – mobile phones in particular – is placed because it should be levied and because we are importing $2-3 billion worth of mobile phones in a country that lacks drinking water and has stunted growth. Importing luxury items such as mobile phones, make up and cheese will increase the burden on a common man.”
Stressing upon prevalent tax system, Fawad said the alternate would be to continue seeking loans and making the later generations poorer. “In order for Pakistan to stand on its own, we need to increase exports and decrease imports. The elite class will have to realise their responsibility towards the country and adhere to the taxation system.”