ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday announced to constitute a high-powered inquiry commission to investigate how former rulers had misappropriated Rs24,000 billion during their 10-year rule.

“I am making a high-powered enquiry commission with a one-point agenda: how did they raise the debt so much in 10 years?” prime minister said in his address to the nation late Tuesday night.

Prime Minister Khan said the commission to be headed by him would consist of members from ISI, FIA, FBR and SECP.

He said the new budget presented on Tuesday was a testament to the’ Naya Pakistan’ the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wanted to create.

“My Naya (new) Pakistan will be based on  state of Madinah. Remember my words: Pakistan will be a great nation.

“They say state of Madinah is a 1400-year-old model. It was a modern state,” he said. “Minorities were part and parcel of the state, everyone was equal in the eyes of the law.”

“Ever since we came into power, I hear [the question]: ‘where is the new Pakistan?’

“The state of Madina wasn’t this way from day one [...] there was a process in turning it into a welfare state.”

Turning to the recent arrests of the bigwigs, Prime Minister Khan said: “I am grateful to Allah, the big figures who are now jailed, no one could have imagined.

“The judiciary is free today. The NAB chairman is not ours [...] we didn’t appoint anyone. This is the new Pakistan and you will slowly see the independence in institutions.

“The NAB cases are old. I didn’t start them. We weren’t in power when Panama or the case against Shehbaz Sharif was started.

“So why are they [opposition] raising a hue and cry since day one?

“My mistake is I didn’t yield to pressure and give them an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance]. The country fell into debt because of two NROs.

“People are crying that Sharif and Zardari have been jailed [...] both of them used to call each other corrupt. Mian Nawaz Sharif jailed Zardari twice during his two tenures.

“The problem we [PTI] are facing is how to run the government — this is the price we are paying for the NROs.”

The prime minister added that they [Nawaz and Zardari] came to an agreement that each would rule for five years and “not say anything to each other”.

“The debt from 6,000b has ballooned to 30,000b. What happened? Were dams built? What was done in Pakistan? What happened that the debt got out of control?

“These three households saw their wealth rise. After 2008, the debt has risen; the biggest reason was corruption.

“When the debt was increasing, their wealth rose by 85pc.

“A woman who was caught at the airport carrying $500,000, hers and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s money were being channelled through the same fake account,” the premier said. “The leaders of the state were doing all this money laundering, but who would stop who?”

“For 22 years, I have been saying our biggest problem is corruption. The people should know what happens when a corrupt leader comes. Their assets are all abroad, their Eids are abroad, their treatment is abroad [...] a three-time prime minister whose sons are sitting abroad are saying we are not citizens [of Pakistan] and are not answerable.

“They didn’t make one hospital where the Sharifs could seek treatment.”

The address, which was earlier slated for 9:15pm, was moved to 10:30pm but started a little before midnight.

Agencies add: Khan took masses into confidence on current political and economic situation of the country.

The prime minister put the blame for economic woes of the country on former governments of PPP and PML-N. He explained how the two former governments had been involved in corruption and burdened the country with huge foreign debts.

“These big names who are behind the bars today, this is the change,” he said. “I shall not spare these thieves, be it at the cost of my life.”

The prime minister said he had the nation’s confidence in him, promising to streamline the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) together with Shabbar Zaidi.

He also urged the masses to benefit from the amnesty scheme or else their ‘Benami’ (fictitious) assets and bank accounts would be seized after June 30. “These few months are difficult, but afterwards Pakistan will prosper and there would be investment in the country,” Khan assured.