• Thu. Mar 16th, 2023

‘Double standards’ in accountability damaged Pakistan: PM Shehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaking during a ceremony after laying the foundation of Bab-e-Pakistan in Lahore. — YouTube screengrab/PTV News Live
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaking during a ceremony after laying the foundation of Bab-e-Pakistan in Lahore. — YouTube screengrab/PTV News Live 
  • PM laments NAB’s silence over Bab-e-Pakistan project corruption.
  • Says this place was supposed to be venue for national, int’l visitors.
  • The rule of ‘might is right’ must be buried forever, says premier.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday said that the “double standards” of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pushed the country towards destruction.

The prime minister made these remarks while speaking during a ceremony after laying the foundation of the Bab-e-Pakistan project, which is a national monument and the upgradation of Walton Road in Lahore.

Speaking about the alleged graft in this project, the premier raised questions about the NAB’s performance that targeted innocent people but failed to summon those involved in such cases as this.

“I wish no one goes to NAB’s akhuwat khana, not even my enemy. Innocent people were pushed against the wall. [But] this project, where billions were misappropriated, did NAB look into the elements who indulged in corruption in this project?”

“It was the double standards that had caused harm to Pakistan. The rule of ‘might is right’ must be buried forever by the 220 million people of the country,” he said, adding the country could not move ahead on the path of progress and prosperity unless they collectively resist these tendencies.

PM Shehbaz said that they were passing through hard times, but it was his firm conviction that with collective efforts, sacrifices and hard work, they would overcome these difficulties.

He said all segments of the society, including the elite class, will have to come forward and support the nation with generosity, adding that there was no other way to reach to destination except adherence to these qualities.

Recalling the journey of the Bab-e-Pakistan project, the prime minister said Nawaz Sharif laid its foundation stone in 1991 and then in 1997 when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came to power and work on the project was expedited.

Regretting this place was still in ruins, PM Shehbaz said that this was supposed to be a venue for national and international visitors, adding that there would have been a monument here with a library.

During Pervez Musharraf’s rule, Shehbaz Sharif said, he was told that Rs900 million worth of white granite was to be imported from Italy for this monument. 

“When I asked why, the consultant said that without this granite, the creation of Pakistan is unimaginable. I told him that Pakistan could not afford this. He replied that nothing can be done now and that they have given an order. I also gave him an order that this Italian granite will not be imported. That person filed a complaint against me,” said the premier.

The PM said he refused to carry on with the project with that said consultant, adding that the contractor was a “fraud” who had no experience but was given the project without bidding.

The prime minister, at the start of his speech, talked about the history of this place, saying that they had once again gathered at the historic place for which millions of migrating Muslims from the sub-continent had offered historic sacrifices, and strived under the great leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, for the creation of a separate homeland.

The premier said that they came across the worst kind of carnage, with thousands of children and women braving the onslaught on their way to the newly created homeland. 

Referring to the Walton road, the prime minister said it was the place where thousands of migrants from India took refuge and the locals supported them which renewed the precedent of Ansar-e-Madina.

The unique precedent would always be remembered, he added.

— Additional input from APP. 

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