Home Pakistan Hussain Asghar appointed head of inquiry commission on foreign debts

Hussain Asghar appointed head of inquiry commission on foreign debts

NAB Deputy Chairperson, Hussain Asghar, has been appointed as the head of the inquiry commission established to investigate the foreign loans obtained by the former governments of Pakistan during the period 2008-2018, resulting in the accumulation of Rs24 billion worth of foreign debts.

Hussain Asghar

News Desk |

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Tuesday, appointed NAB Deputy Chairperson Hussain Asghar as head of the “high-power” inquiry committee to investigate the debts taken by the former governments during the past decade.

This decision was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and later, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Mirza Shehzad Akbar, confirmed the appointment of Hussain Asghar.

The inquiry commission will be responsible for investigating the loans obtained by the governments of Pakistan from 2008 to 2018.

Akbar stressed that the first and foremost TOR of the inquiry commission is to establish how Pakistan’s foreign debt grew to Rs24 billion within ten years, and how these loans were used by the former governments.

Speaking at a press conference jointly addressed by Special Assistant to PM Mirza Shehzad Akbar and Special Assistant to PM on Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, the two PTI leaders reinstated PM Khan’s vision to undertake appropriate accountability measures.

Debt in 10 Years: Rs24 Billion

Mirza Shehzad Akbar revealed, “In 2008, Pakistan’s total debt was over Rs6.90 billion, and in 2018, this debt rose up to Rs38.75 billion. These figures are very important and they provide the constitutional and legal grounds for the inquiry commission to launch an investigation.”

Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability explained that as per the requirements of the Article 166 of the Constitution, which outlines the extents to which a federal government can obtain loans, in 2005, an act was introduced: Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005.

Read more: Commission to chase corrupt leaders & looted money: PM Imran Khan

He said, “According to this Act, the loans obtained by Pakistan can never be greater than 60% of its GDP, in order to make sure that the country is not heavily indebted and robbed off the authority to make its own decisions.”

Explaining the nature of Pakistan’s foreign debt, Mirza Shehzad Akbar noted, “The details of the loans and Act 2005 were put forward at the Cabinet meeting, and it was discovered that from 2012 onwards, the federal government began violating this Act and Pakistan’s foreign loans began exceeding more than 60% of its GDP.” He said, “Within a period of ten years, Pakistan’s foreign loans grew up to Rs24 billion.”

It has been decided that the inquiry commission will include senior officials from the National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue and other state organizations.

PM Khan had stressed that the former governments had attempted to destabilize the country by taking overwhelming loans, which were not allocated for public welfare.

Akbar observed, “This commission and its members have the authority, as per the law, to hire other professionals from relevant bureaus, alongside forensic personnel, auditors and whatever assistance they require to undertake investigations. They will have the authority to undertake all legal action outlined by the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017.”

He added, “These foreign loans were not utilized for the construction of any infrastructural project or dam that could benefit the country after 4-5 years. In fact, the expenditures undertaken on these loans caused more losses than benefits, thrusting Pakistan deeper into debt.”

Akbar stressed that the first and foremost TOR of the inquiry commission is to establish how Pakistan’s foreign debt grew to Rs24 billion within ten years, and how these loans were used by the former governments.

Read more: Is NAB working independently?

The notification for NAB Deputy Chairperson Hussain Asghar’s appointment was issued on Wednesday. Mr. Asghar has also served as the director of the Punjab anti-corruption bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency.

During his address after the federal budget proposal, Prime Minister Imran Khan had vowed not to spare corrupt politicians, and had introduced the federal decision of establishing an inquiring commission.

PM Khan had stressed that the former governments had attempted to destabilize the country by taking overwhelming loans, which were not allocated for public welfare. PM Khan also stressed that accountability is important to eliminate chaos across the economy, which is detrimental to attract foreign investors.

Read more: Is NAB becoming effective again?

NAB Deputy Chairperson, Hussain Asghar, has been appointed as the head of the inquiry commission established to investigate the foreign loans obtained by the former governments of Pakistan during the period 2008-2018, resulting in the accumulation of Rs24 billion worth of foreign debts.

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