LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday vowed to provide full support to NAB for accountability but warned that selective justice will have dangerous consequences.

He said it was the constitutional responsibility of the National Accountability Bureau to recover the plundered wealth of the nation and if the anti-graft body succeeds in doing this then everyone will hail it.

The chief minister said this while answering questions from media persons after addressing a gathering of Daanish School students, who called on him at the Chief Minister Secretariat.

To a question, Shehbaz said that NAB should fulfil its responsibilities at every cost. The nation should welcome it if NAB is going to hold the looters accountable.

He however warned against targeting a few people in the process. “Selective justice will produce dangerous results,” he remarked.

“We are happy if NAB is activated and it should be welcomed. Transparent and indiscriminate accountability of all should be held as it rejuvenates the society. If this is the approach of NAB chairman then nobody will differ with it.”

Shehbaz also drew NAB’s attention towards a ‘dacoity’ bid involving billions of rupees made over the iron ore reserves in Chiniot, saying that the case was referred to NAB on the orders of Lahore High Court in 2010.

“NAB closed it and gave a clean chit [to the accused]. Now, it has been re-noticed which is a good thing. Similarly, a corruption of trillions of rupees was made in NICL, rental power projects and EOBI, and if this money is recovered then NAB will be praised”, he observed.

He said that NAB was proactively working in Punjab and government was fully cooperating with the anti-graft body and providing it necessary documents and other material.

“Saving billions”

Shehbaz said that Punjab government had saved many hundred billion rupees in different projects by maintaining complete transparency and everyone including NAB should appreciate it.

“The wheel of development has been moved with speed and the people who worked hard for national development should be praised for encouraging such able citizens.”

The CM said that government did not hide Saaf Pani Scandal as it believed in transparency and being answerable to the people along with Almighty Allah.

“We have to let the nation know about our mistakes in this regard because a dacoity of Rs70 billion was going to be made in this project and we caught it red handed, saving the nation from loss,” he said.

“We lodged FIRs and the case was referred to the anti-corruption establishment, but where was NAB then?” he asked. He said it is the responsibility of NAB to investigate and dig out corruption if there is any.

Talking about Nandipur Power Project, the chief minister said that the government of day awarded that project of 50 to 60 billion rupees without any bidding.

The court referred the case to NAB and Justice Rehmat Hussain Jaffari stated in his verdict that Babar Awan [who was a PPP leader at the time] was responsible for the delay in this project. Billions of rupees have been wasted due to Babar Awan and the plant was left rusted at Karachi Port.

“Is there any other bigger crime than that?” the CM asked, and went on to say that Safe City Project was started in Islamabad during the tenure of Pakistan Peoples Party which caught attention of Supreme Court. He said only 2,000 CCTV cameras were installed under this project which amounted to Rs16 billion.

“Punjab government’s Safe City Project in Lahore is four times the size of Islamabad’s project and 8,000 CCTV cameras have been installed under this project with a cost of only 13 billion rupees, showing that billions of rupees of public money have been save,” the CM asserted.



Inter-institutional harmony

To a question, he said that political dialogue was need of the hour and instead of non-cooperation, there should be cooperation and collaboration between the institutions and the same should be promoted as the survival of the country lies in it.

“Parliament, judiciary and establishment should be united to deal with the challenges being faced by the country because such challenges cannot be dealt with by a single institution,” he said, adding that everyone should be united to solve these problems and this is how the nation could deal with them.

To another question, he said that obnoxious and detestable language had been used in Kasur and no society could tolerate it.

“What happened in Kasur was totally wrong and I have taken immediate action over it. I have directed the police to initiate indiscriminate action against the ones who have used this language. Compromise over it is out of question, because if we compromised over it today, then the very foundations of the nation would be shaken”.

He added, “It is up to you to agree or disagree with a court verdict but respect of the institutions is a must.”

Replying to a question about opposition, Shehbaz said that Bilawal Zardari had inquired from ‘his uncle’ Imran as to who was he deceiving after voting in favour of the PPP during the Senate elections.



Education achievements

The chief minister said that Schools Education Department has done a good job by giving admissions to hundreds of thousands of children, adding that 90,000 children of brick-kiln workers have also been given admissions - who are getting free textbooks, uniforms and stipends. Such a good example does not exist even in India, he pointed out.

Talking about his government’s accomplishments in the last five years, Shehbaz Sharif said: “Three lakh 50 thousand needy students have been given stipends through PEEF and 26 lakh children have been enrolled in partner schools through Punjab Education Foundation.”

On the other hand, the province where it was claimed that a new Pakistan was in the making, the important sector of education was badly ignored, he said. Similarly, no attention was paid to education sector in Sindh and Balochistan, he added.

“Punjab government’s educational reforms cannot be compared with other provinces because we have achieved mammoth successes in the field of education. Those who have worked for public welfare and prosperity will be disappointed if they are criticised. Such people should be appreciated and where there is a mistake, it should be pointed out and rectified as well,” the chief minister said.



Shehbaz warns against targeting few in accountability’s name