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Ahsan demands ‘Pandora-tainted’ ministers resign – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, on Wednesday, demanded that all the ministers whose names have appeared in the Pandora Papers should resign immediately as they could change their assets declaration by amending the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) records.

Talking to reporters after appearing before Accountability Court in the Narowal Sport City Complex Project (NSCCP) case, he said that all the ministers whose name were mentioned in the Pandora Papers should step down as these standards were set by their leader Prime Minister Imran Khan after the Panama Papers. He also requested the court to take the tax record of all the ministers whose name were mentioned in the Pandora Papers in its possession as the government was committing tempering the tax returns of their ministers to protect them from legal action.

The PML-N leader said that Pandora Papers has exposed the present government. He alleged that the name of Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin has appeared in four offshore companies and one of the main accused in Broadsheet scandal was his partners in these offshore companies. After surfacing of this information, the finance minister has lost moral grounds to continue as the finance minister as he can change the FBR record under his supervision, he said.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should clarify the news about selling of precious wrist watch gifted to him by a friendly country. If the prime minister was not involved in this shameful act then present the detail of all gifts, which he had received from foreign heads of states and dignitaries before the nation, he said, adding if he is not ready to present details of the gifts then certainly he sold these gifts after stealing it. Captain is a watch thief, he alleged.

Iqbal said that government wants the incumbent NAB Chairman former Justice Javed Iqbal to continue in order to fulfill its political agenda. He also said that the government is going to promulgate a person-specific ordinance for the present NAB chairman, adding the government is making one-sided amended in accountability and elections laws.

The PML-N leader said, prime minister has directed the chairman NADRA to amend voter list.

Iqbal said that the PTI led government has obtained Rs15 trillion foreign loans during the last three years, while PML-N during its five-year tenure obtained Rs10 trillion foreign loans.

He condemned baton charge over young doctors and demanded of the government to take back the black laws of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) and accept the demands of the young doctors.

Earlier, he appeared before Accountability Court-III judge Syed Ashgar Ali in the NSCCP case against him and others. The court recorded the statement of prosecution witness Waheed Zaman. The witness said that he had appeared before investigation officer (IO) NAB Ahmed Khizer during 2019 and 2020 in the NSCCP. The IO recorded his statements and seized the documents which he had produced. I was posted as Research Officer at Mass Media and Culture Sport Tourism and Youth section, of the Ministry of Planning and Development, he said. He said that has produced the documents before IO pertaining to project files from 1999 till reference. I was promoted as assistant chief and promoted as Deputy Chief in 2014, and promoted as chief in February 2017, he said. He said that the NSCCP was approved in 1999 at the cost of Rs35 million. The project could not take up, thereafter, it was revived and revised project was approved in 2009, he said. Rs30 million was released by the federal government from Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), which was utilized over boundary wall and the main gate, he said.

The witness said that sport sector was devolved to the provinces and all the sports projects were handed over to the provincial governments due to 18th constitutional amendment. In 2014, it was taken back from the province by the federal government and second revised PC-1 was approved by the CDWP at the cost of Rs 2,498 million, implementation of the project was started and fund was released to the project from federal PSDP, he said. He said that in 2017, the project was again revised at the cost of Rs 2,998 million due to some variation offers and some changes in scope. The same was approved by the CDWP in 2017 at aforementioned cost, he said.

The court adjourned hearing of the case till October 19.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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