PM vows no leniency on corruption

Imran directs to speed up Ehsaas Ration Programme registration


Our Correspondent December 02, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. SCREENGRAB/BBC

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that he would not compromise on his anti-corruption drive and show no leniency in such matters.

The prime minister made the remarks during his interaction with the lawmakers of his party named as members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

He asked them to play their constitutional role in curbing corruption and enhancing the overall capacity of the highest accountability forum of parliament – PAC.

Though his gambit depends more on the economic progress, the prime minister told the PAC members that they should play a better role for across-the-board accountability.

The remarks came after PTI’s lawmakers, including Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and PAC members Riaz Fatyana, Noor Alam Khan, Munaza Hassan, Khawaja Sheraz, among others, met the prime minister to discuss about the PAC performance and how the treasury benches could play a vital role in eradicating corruption.

Following the meeting, some members, requesting not to be named, revealed that the prime minister has asked the members to go prepared in PAC meetings and highlight the corruption cases of the incumbent and the previous governments.

“We told the prime minister that we only see corruption and not parties while discussing audit paras at the PAC,” a PTI lawmaker said.

He said the members told the prime minister that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) needed to speed up the process as corruption cases referred to them remain pending with the body for months on.

The prime minister, while agreeing with the members, highlighted that several other cases were pending before courts on account of stay orders.

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The prime minister reiterated that the Competition Commission has imposed a fine of Rs40 billion on sugar mills on charges of cartelisation but they got a stay order on the decision. In addition, he said, the Federal Board of Revenue had imposed a fine of Rs500 billion on sugar mills for selling sugar off-books but they got a stay order on that as well.

He emphasized expediting the cases pending before the courts, a member said, adding that the Attorney General for Pakistan would be asked to speed up the process so that stay orders could be vacated and cases could be concluded.

During the meeting, PAC members apprised the premier that they needed research support to enhance performance as sometimes the briefs are received late and they do not even get time to read the whole material.

Referring to Thursday’s PAC meeting, a member told the prime minister that some members received the briefs after midnight while others got it just before the meeting started.

The prime minister, while agreeing that research facilities should be provided to better highlight the corruption cases, once again reminded the members that they sit at the most powerful committee of parliament and had more responsibility on their shoulders to highlight corruption.

It was expected that the prime minister would discuss about the comments passed by MNA Riaz Fatyana at a previous PAC meeting against two federal cabinet members but the matter was not discussed.

According to the minutes of the meeting of PAC’s 83rd meeting, Fatyana had pointed out that the representation of Pakistan in UN conference on climate change held in Glasgow this year was not up to the mark as he visited the conference and the Pakistani pavilion and found nothing substantial to highlight Pakistani perspective with the world leaders.

Subsequently, the PAC had decided that Fatyana will share the details with the audit for further inquiry in the matter.

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Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the authorities concerned to speed up the registration process for Ehsaas Ration Programme to benefit a maximum number of poor households.

Chairing a meeting on Ehsaas Ration Programme, he also emphasised involving district government authorities to raise awareness among Karyana (grocery shops) stores and the potential beneficiaries in this regard.

The prime minister said, “The government is taking all possible measures to provide maximum relief to a common man.”

“Being cognizant of sufferings of people due to inflation, we are extending subsidy to poorest of the poor people on essential commodities,” he added.

Earlier, the prime minister was apprised that under Ehsaas Ration Programme, a monthly subsidy of Rs1,000 on flour, ghee and pulses would be given to 20 million households of the country that have their monthly income below Rs50,000.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Niazi joined the meeting via video-link.

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