P stresses upon collective efforts to stamp out corruption, says a change always takes time

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday stressed that as corruption had eaten away economies of the poor countries like Pakistan, the society as a cohesive whole should extend full support to make the fight against the menace a success.

Responding to the public’s questions during a live broadcast session, the prime minister said a nation could fight corruption only through collective efforts.

“Imran Khan cannot fight it alone, the society carries on this fight and the judiciary fights it. The National Accountability Bureau, which is completely independent, can frame cases, ” he added.

The prime minister said corruption was the real issue, which had permeated in all the poor countries of world and had even shaken the economies of rich ones.

He referred to the steps taken by Mahathir Mohamad to lift the Malaysian economy.

Imran Khan said the powerful elite embezzled the national wealth by holding on to the powerful offices as happened in Pakistan and then resorted to money laundering as they could not hide such huge amounts in their respective countries.

According to the United Nations watchdog panel report, about 1, 000 billion dollars from the poor countries were being laundered to the rich countries or tax havens, he said. The report further said about 7, 000 billion dollars had been stashed away in rich countries, he added.

The prime minister said the Government of Pakistan was striving to get the laundered money back.

China had sent 450 ministers to jail on corruption charges and in Singapore, a minister committed suicide after he had been arrested for corruption, he added.

The prime minister regretted that in Pakistan, the corrupt elements were warmly welcomed and showered with flower petals.

Expressing his resolve, Imran Khan said, “Insha’Allah we have to win this fight – a fight for the rule of law, which is vital for the country’s survival.”

He said in the fight, all the corrupt elements had gathered on one platform to pull down Imran Khan’s government because it was not giving them any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

The prime minister said the real issue was rule of law, which was firmly imposed by Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the State of Madina.

“We all have to decide together to go after these corrupt elements, ” he emphasized.

The prime minister, to a question, replied that the government had retrieved land worth Rs 450 million from illegal occupants in Punjab alone.

The government, he said, would not spare the powerful mafia, who had encroached upon its own lands and properties. The government has declared a war against them.

A Lahore-based clique had the backing of a political party, and even in past, the ministers and members of the parliament had gobbled the government’s precious lands in Punjab, he added.

The mafia, he said, also encroached upon the properties of overseas Pakistanis.

The prime minister said a change could be brought through a consecutive struggle. There were two kinds of changes, i.e., blood revolution and a change through ballot.

The judiciary was completely independent as well as NAB, which were previously controlled by the then governments, he added.

Citing the Broadsheet Commission report, Imran Khan said Justice (retired) Shaikh Azmat Saeed’s findings had divulged that the corrupt elements were protected in the scandal.

“There is difference between revolution and evolution, the latter will take time, ” he maintained.

The prime minister said his government had so far paid back 35, 000 billion dollars in debt, which the previous rulers had left behind.

The prime minister said for the first time, a change was being felt and no one could stop it from happening. The country in the past had only witnessed a two-party system.

“Now all stood on one platform, trying to get rid of Imran Khan’s government. It is a change. The powerful, who always enjoyed the privileged position, are feeling it. My government will not spare anyone, ” he added.

Going after such elements, he said, had never been an easy task. Almost all the developing countries had been facing the ordeal. “It is a kind of Jihad we are waging. It’s a Jihad when you protect the feeble segments of your society, ” he said.

The prime minister said in Punjab alone, it was detected that a whooping amount of Rs 600 billion was circulated in the accounts of sugar bookies.

He expressed his wonder that his political rivals did not talk about such changes, how the government had stabilized the country, its economy and rupee. “Something is happening as all the economic indicators are positive even in this pandemic, ” he added.

The changes, he said, could be felt in the automobile and construction sectors. Such changes would lift the country, even the tourism sector alone would help lift Pakistan economically, he added.

For the first time in the country’s history, the current account had been in surplus for the last seven months, he said.

The prime minister said the first year of his government was a horrible one as the country was facing an imminent default.