ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Sunday said the Sharif family had purchased Avenfield flats in London after committing massive corruption within the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway project.
The Sharif family was purchasing the Avenfield flats at an equivalent time when the foremost expensive agreement of the region for the development of a motorway was being signed by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, he told a press conference.
Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed also spoke.
Mr. Fawad said the PML-N government didn’t spend the cash on the welfare of individuals and rather it laundered the cash abroad to shop for luxury flats in London.
The minister said that the cash spent on such expensive projects by the PML-N government was borrowed from different international financial institutions. As a result, he said, the country had to pay $2 billion in interest to a corporation that was in agreement with the then government to construct the motorway.
He mentioned a report published during a leading national daily on Dec 4, 2002, stating that the value of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway had exceeded Rs60 billion. the entire income from Motorway till 2002 was Rs450 million only, he added.
Lashing out at Prime Minister Imran Khan’s critics who said that he was against the development of motorways within the past, Mr. Fawad said Mr. Khan was never against the event of road infrastructure, but the corruption which was committed within the name of such mega projects.
“There is not any concept of development without road infrastructure because communication (linkages) are everything, but if you begin building roads to market your own business because it was within the case of Sharif family then there would be no development within the country,” he said. Mr. Fawad said corrupt practices at the local level didn’t cause major damage to the country, rather it had been the systematic corruption of a major minister and his cabinet members which ruined the state.
The minister said that an equivalent happened within the country where from 1947 to 2008, the entire debt stood at Rs6 trillion, but it was the Sharif and Zardari families which took the debt to Rs27 trillion only in 10 years.
The incumbent government had to pay back $10 billion over the last three years due to loans taken by the past governments, he added.
The minister said the country still had to repay the massive debt which had accumulated thanks to the corruption of these two families altogether economic sectors of the country.
In reply to an issue, the minister said that contracts worth Rs1 trillion for road projects had been signed during different tenures of the PML-N government.
The present government, he said, was striving hard to uproot such mafias that had been weakening the country.
About corruption cases against the Sharif family, he said the govt was pursuing them vigorously to require them to a logical conclusion.
Speaking on the occasion, Murad Saeed said the development and expansion of highways wouldn’t only inaugurate a replacement era of economic development in remote areas of Balochistan, but they might also pave the way for economic development within the entire region through CPEC.
He said that the progress and prosperity of Balochistan province were a must for the event of Pakistan, adding that “if Balochistan is prosperous then Pakistan is going to be prosperous”.
Mr. Murad said that Prime Minister Khan not only promised development and prosperity of backward areas of Balochistan but also took practical steps for the aim.
The minister said that as compared to rulers of the past, Mr. Khan paid special attention to the development of Balochistan.
He said the previous government claimed to possess built roads within the past but they ignored Balochistan.
“We have always strived hard to place Balochistan on a path to reach make it a developed province where people have equal access to health, education, clean beverage, employment, and business facilities,” Mr Murad asserted.
He said the previous governments in Balochistan only issued tenders for development projects but they practically did nothing for the aim.
“The PTI government not only approved the western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but also initiated the Zhob-Kuchlak project,” he said.
The minister said that construction work on 146-km-long Hushab-Awaran Highway was fully swung.
He said Prime Minister Khan laid the foundation-stone of Quetta western bypass and Dera Murad Jamali bypass this year.
The video of the Quetta western bypass project has been released and work on Dera Murad Jamali Bypass was underway, he said.