ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for admitting that a large number of corruption cases are pending investigation in the country, saying that his government is unable to complete investigations into these cases.
In a statement on Sunday, newly-appointed PTI information secretary Shafqat Mehmood expressed his surprise over the prime minister’s remarks, which he said implied that investigations into corruption cases would impede development activities in the country.
But defending the prime minister’s stance, cabinet minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry stated that the PTI was misinterpreting PM Sharif’s statement, claiming that the prime minister had never said that there was no need to investigate corruption cases.
During a brief talk with journalists after inaugurating the construction of a metro bus route to connect the federal capital with the New Islamabad International Airport, near Fatehjang, on Saturday, the prime minister had admitted that there were cases of massive corruption in the country and if investigations were launched into all of them, the government would not be able to do any other work.
Minister says opposition misinterpreting PM’s comments
“There is so much corruption in the country that if we get involved in probing [the cases] all our time will be consumed in the investigations and we will not be able to deliver,” PM Sharif had said.
“There are so many scandals and frauds that cannot even be listed. There are a number of projects that could not be completed in 20 years, resultantly their cost increased manifold,” he further said.
In the statement, the PTI leader expressed his surprise over the “strange logic” given by the prime minister to justify the government’s failure to curb corruption and hold those who had made money through corrupt means accountable.
“Does the prime minister want to say that there should be no check on increasing corruption in the country, or does he want to say that corruption charges against him should not be probed?” the PTI leader asked.
Mr Mehmood said the Supreme Court had already initiated the process of investigation against the prime minister and his family members through a joint investigation team (JIT) in the light of the April 20 judgement of a five-judge bench in the Panama Papers case.
“At such a crucial time, when the investigation is under way, what does the prime minister want to convey through such a message?” he asked.
The PTI leader declared that the whole nation was standing by the Supreme Court and wanted a logical end to the Panama Papers case. He observed that in the absence of an effective fight against corruption, development could neither be imagined, nor was it possible.
Responding to the PTI’s allegations, Tariq Fazal said the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) believed in transparency and accountability for all those who had committed corruption.
Talking to Dawn, the minister explained that the prime minister actually wanted to say that they could not stop development activities simply because of the corruption committed by previous governments.
He said no institution could be closed down simply because some of its officials had committed corruption in the past. The government, he said, wanted to carry on development work and accountability side by side.
The minister claimed that the whole politics of the PTI was revolving around allegations, lies and threats to institutions. He said the people had already rejected the PTI’s style of politics.