Govt to recover ‘health expenses’ from Nawaz, Zardari Body formed on verdict of WBAC on Riko Diq case

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

The federal cabinet on Tuesday gave its approval to recover funds spent by Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari’s governments under the pretext of health expenses from the national exchequer.
The sources privy to the development said that a report on the total expenses incurred by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N governments was presented before the cabinet, says a news channel.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif’s government spent Rs5.4 billion on camp offices and medical expenses while Zardari’s government spent over Rs3 billion. Shehbaz Sharif’s government approved funds exceeding over Rs8 billion.
Speaking to the press after the cabinet meeting, Federal Minister Murad Saeed said that Nawaz Sharif spent $460,000 in his US trips, and £337,000 for his medical treatment in the United Kingdom. “This is not just mere allegations. The numbers here given are coming from the state documents,” the minister said. Murad made these remarks while briefing the media persons here about the decisions taken in the meeting of Federal Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He was addressing media alongwith Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam.
Giving details of the public money misused by the former rulers and their families, Murad Saeed said over Rs 245 million was spent on running the affairs of camp offices established by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, three in Lahore and two in Multan.
Similarly, he said Asif Ali Zardari wasted over Rs 3.16 billion on his security and camp offices during 2013-18 when he was not even the president of Pakistan. Some 556 to 820 police officials were deputed for his security during the last five years, he added.
He said when hundreds of children were dying in Thar due to starvation every year, the Pakistan People’s Party leaders were busy in misusing the public money to maintain their lavish lifestyle. “According to Benazir Income Support Programme and State Bank of Pakistan reports, most of the poor live in Sindh and south Punjab,” he added. Murad said former prime minister wasted $460,000 on his single visit to the United States in 2015 and spent 327,000 pounds sterling on his medical treatment during his visit to the United Kingdom. Moreover, a plane of the Pakistan International Airlines remained in the UK for several days which incurred additional loss to the national exchequer, he added.
Murad said former president Mamnoon Hussain also joined the camp of plunderers as he spent over Rs 300 million on the security of his camp office in Karachi. On the contrary, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet colleagues had not set up even a single camp office. The special assistant said the cabinet had constituted a committee to formulate recommendations on the verdict of the World Bank’s Arbitration Court on Riko Diq case. The committee would find out the reasons behind the verdict and fix the responsibility, besides devising a future strategy in that regard. Moreover, she said, it was decided that the tax on import of edible oil would be reduced to 2% from 7%, which would help break the back of hoarders.
Malik Amin Aslam said the cabinet had given approval for the statutory regulatory order to ban plastic bags in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Narrating the salient features of the SRO, he said it was based on the model being used across the world. Under the SRO, a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 500,000 would be imposed on the manufacturers of plastic bags, while its traders would be fined Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 and the people found using them would have to pay Rs 5,000 fine.