5m houses will be built at all costs, says info minister


–Fawad says govt went to IMF under compelling economic conditions


LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Hussain on Saturday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was ambitious to build five million residential units for the people and it would achieve the target during its tenure.

“The detractors of Imran Khan always remained skeptical that he would never become prime minister or set up Shaukat Khaunum Memorial Hospital and Namal University, but he achieved the impossible,” the minister said while talking to media persons after attending a session on ‘Justice for Empowerment’ during Asma Jahangir Conference 2018 at a local hotel.

To a question, Fawad said corruption was the only threat to democracy and his party had waged a war against the menace. The roots of the current financial crisis were sown by senseless borrowing by the former rulers during the past 10 years. The government would not spare the ‘dacoits’, who had looted the national wealth, he added.

“I have submitted a resolution in the National Assembly for the constitution of a parliamentary committee to determine the accused among the former rulers, who raised the country’s foreign debts from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion during the past 10 years,” he said, adding the committee should submit its findings in one month and the responsible should be declared ‘national culprits’.

To another query, Fawad said the PTI government did not want to pick up the ‘begging bowl’, but the bad policies of the previous regimes had entrapped the country in the economic crisis. The PTI government did not need loans as it had slashed the expenses of the Prime Minister’s House, chief minister houses and the governor houses to mere 10 per cent of the previous expenditures, he added.

Citing the reasons for the proposed International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package, he said the government was forced to approach the world lending body and friendly countries for the financial assistance as the country had to repay $8 billion loans this year. The former rulers got foreign loans as if those were never to be paid back. The people would not face such a financial situation at the end of the PTI government’s tenure, he vowed.

About the by-polls, he claimed that the PTI would clean sweep the October 14 by-polls. It would win all the seats, vacated either by its candidates or those of other parties, with the public support, he added.

Rejecting the allegations of political manipulation by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, the minister said the PML-N while in power had never conducted free and fair elections in its political history. The July 25 general election were the first free and fair polls conducted during the recent past, he added.

To a query, he said the political future of PML-N was bleak. It was faced with internal disruption as formation of another forward bloc within the party was in the offing, besides an existing one in the Punjab Assembly. “The PML-N members should choose some new leadership,” he suggested.

About bureaucracy, he said the bureaucracy was bound to respect of all the elected members from the treasury and the opposition. Gone were the days when nobody except Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Maryam Nawaz was given respect by the government officials, he added.