News Desk |
No loose ends will be left to catch the corrupt, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed at a press conference in Lahore on Sunday, 7th October. The PM touched a wide range of issues from anticorruption to the IMF.
The Premier was addressing the media for the first time after holding office after a meeting of the provincial cabinet, with Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry and other senior federal and provincial leadership.
With Pakistan facing a severe balance-of-payments crisis, Khan said recovering that stolen wealth would help ease the burden on the country´s economy.
The Prime Minister initially expressed his confidence in the leadership of Usman Buzdar: “Usman Buzdar hails from an area where there is no electricity, no water, and no hospitals. He understands the woes of the common man.
No one could’ve foreseen that a man from an area like that could ever become Chief Minister”. The Prime Minister also reiterated that he had complete faith in the honesty of the CM “One thing I know for sure, CM Buzdar will never commit corruption of any sort”.
Read more: Buzdar: PM Khan’s man for CM Punjab
PM Khan’s statement in favor of CM Buzdar was no doubt a reply to widespread rumors that change was imminent in Punjab. One type of rumors contended that it would be an entire shift in party government with rule reverting back to the ousted PML-N, the other type stressed that Buzdar was going to be axed soon.
The PM’s stance gave a counternarrative that there was forward block in the making in Punjab’s PTI. He also stressed on his resolute struggle that there would be no compromise on the issue of corruption.
The release of Nawaz Sharif, the statements of a deal with establishment by Rana Mashood and subsequent arrest of Shahbaz Sharif led to many a tongue wagging that a deal had been reached between the government, establishment and the N League. PM Khan’s steadfast refusal of any amnesty can be taken as a No to such an assertion. The Prime Minister further went on to discuss his new whistle-blower incentive policy.
The mini-budget presented by the government which raised tariffs and taxes was also heavily criticized.
He said that whistleblowers who help nab corrupt officials and politicians will be rewarded. “The law will invite countrymen to identify the corrupt and (whistleblowers will) get 20 percent of the ill-gotten money and assets recovered from such people,” The other 80 percent would be used to pay off Pakistan´s debts”, he said.
With Pakistan facing a severe balance-of-payments crisis, Khan said recovering that stolen wealth would help ease the burden on the country´s economy. All throughout his election campaign, PM Khan has claimed that billions of dollars of public money have been stolen over the last few decades, much of it laundered out of the country.
The meeting which was followed by this press conference had the 100-day agenda progress brief, briefing on the anti-encroachment drive which recently started across Islamabad and provincial cities of Lahore and Multan as well as the structural reforms over local body government revival which the PM had ordered in the last provincial cabinet meeting two weeks ago.
PM Khan’s government, in the first 40 plus days, has been continuously under media scrutiny for one issue or another. In the first week, PM Khan was criticized for his usage of his official helicopter for commute between the PM house and his Banigala residence in the context of his austerity drive.
Read more: CM Punjab: A simple man with ‘lavish style’
After that, the PTI government was put under fire for their appointment and withdrawal of Atif Mian, an economist of Qadiani faith, on the Economic Advisory Council. The mini-budget presented by the government which raised tariffs and taxes was also heavily criticized.