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NAB is an independent institution: Shah Mehmood

15 April, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Sunday said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an independent institution, which the government expects will help eradicate corruption from the country.

Talking to media after inaugurating a water filtration plant in Shah Rukn-e-Aalam colony here, the minister said the corrupt elements, whether they belong to any party, must be brought to justice. He observed that the NAB is an independent institution and the government cannot pressurize it as it is free in taking its decision. “Government cannot get decisions of its choice from NAB … we want that NAB bring corrupt elements to justice without any discrimination,” he said while responding to a question about the recent verbal spat between the accountability watchdog and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

“It [NAB] doesn’t work under the government, we cannot influence it. We can’t bring it under pressure [and] neither will it take decisions at our behest. NAB has to take decisions and it is autonomous. Our expectation is for NAB to support us in the process to eradicate corruption. The eradication of corruption is a pillar of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s agenda,” he said. “We want corrupt elements, no matter which party they belong to, to be uprooted and the class which caused losses to the national exchequer to be held accountable. The nation expects NAB to keep moving forward, without any pressure or concession [to corrupt elements], for a corruption-free Pakistan,” he added.

The foreign minister said the federal government has no magic wand to fix the economy overnight. “Be it Asad Umar or anyone else, nobody can improve the country’s economic situation overnight. Situation cannot be improved by finger snapping,” he said while responding to a question about the current economic situation. “At the end of the last government’s tenure, the trade deficit was at a historical low, the foreign direct investment (FDI) was extremely low and [foreign and domestic] loans had been increased by several folds,” he said. “[Prime Minister Imran] Khan has already said that the previous governments from 1948 to 2008 heaped a load of Rs 6,000 billion, and during the last 10 years, the country was placed under a burden of Rs 30,000 billion [debt],” he continued. “Who is responsible for the increase in debt by Rs 24,000 billion? The eight-month-old government of the PTI cannot be held responsible for this,” he asserted.

Responding to a question about India’s alleged involvement in the terrorist attack in Quetta, the foreign minister said Pakistan is a responsible country and it will not act like India which issues irresponsible statements. “Pakistan will investigate the incident thoroughly to trace culprits … whether foreign hands are involved or sectarianism is behind this tragic incident,” he added. To another question about any threat from India, Qureshi said election process in India is likely to end by May 19, therefore there is need to remain vigilant.

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