–Info minister claims PPP co-chairman is not eligible to remain lawmaker under articles 62 & 63
–Says corruption probes against former rulers was initiated during their own party’s tenure
–Says accountability drive encouraging foreign investment in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on Wednesday said that it was going to file a disqualification reference against former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari for failing to mention an apartment that he allegedly owns in the United States in the assets declaration submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Talking to reporters, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that Zardari was bound to declare his foreign property under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. However, the PPP leader did not do that and hence he is not eligible to be a member of the parliament any more, he added.
Fawad said that his party’s MPA in Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sherzaman will soon file a reference against Zardari for not declaring the property in his nomination papers.
To a question about the London properties of Federal Minister Faisal Vawda, the minister said that he has already declared his assets in his nomination papers.
The minister also said that the PTI government was delivering on its promise of a “corruption-free Pakistan”.
He further said that investigative agencies had been given a “free hand” to investigate any politician — regardless of the party they belonged to — whose activities are found to be suspicious.
When asked about an ongoing inquiry against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Fawad Chaudhry said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was investigating the matter.
“To the people who […] point at PTI members and claim that they are not being held accountable [for their actions]: We were not in power for the past 10 years. For [the past] five years, we were in the KP government [only] and [that tenure] remained scandal free,” the minister said while arguing that the ongoing corruption references against key opposition lawmakers, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, had been initiated during the PML-N’s tenure.
The information minister further said that “the world could see” that Pakistan’s system were becoming more transparent due to the PTI’s anti-corruption stance.
That stance had also encouraged increased investments in the country, he claimed. He pointed out that British Airways had resumed its flights to Pakistan and Exxon Mobil was also planning to invest in the country.
Furthermore, he claimed, Pakistan’s ranking on travel advisories issued by countries like Portugal and France had improved.
Fawad Chaudhry said that the difference between Prime Minister Imran Khan and past governments was that the former’s policies were based on “compassion”. He referred to the repatriation of Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari and said that his return was an example of the government’s compassion.
He also recalled that the premier had asked Indian journalists — who had visited Pakistan to attend the Kartarpur border crossing ceremony — to urge their government to put an end to offences committed by state forces against Kashmiri citizens in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
“He [the prime minister] said that we [India and Pakistan] can talk about [the Kashmir issue], but the injustices against Kashmiri citizens have to stop,” Chaudhry said.