Following the buzz after Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal telling the media in Islamabad on Aug. 26 that the country saw a loss of $14 billion in the aftermath of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formation and the Panama Leaks verdict, he has called a special chat with the media.
The media event includes a supporting cast of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, and Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb initiates the proceedings, “In consultation with our beloved leader, the three times Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, we, especially our Interior Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal have invited you to settle any doubts about the loss of $14 billion suffered by our country in the aftermath of JIT formation and the Panama Leaks verdict. He will start with the proceedings and we will also join in when see fit.”
“Dear friends of the press, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, my colleagues and I have been informed about some of the feelings vented about my informing the nation about the huge loss suffered by our country due to Imran Khan’s campaign against the offshore businesses of our leaders,” declared Ahsan Iqbal.
He continued, “It is not a secret that political instability is tantamount to playing with the future of the next generation.
“Rest assured that the government will safeguard national interest at all costs.
“I will reiterate that Pakistan suffered a $14 billion loss over the past three to four months due to adverse political situation, otherwise it was making rapid development.
“I will now let our Finance Minister Mr. Ishaq Dar to dilate on this issue.”
“I am honored. My dear friend Mr. Ahsan Iqbal is himself a very learned person. He attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania from where he did MBA. But now that he has asked me, I will add my remarks. You all know that Imran Khan is the leader of the pack trying to disturb the status quo. You will acknowledge that fanning political instability and doing politics for the sake of it will inevitably result in hampering economic development in the country.”
Ahsan Iqbal joins in, “The country needs to unite and move forward beyond ‘dead issues’ like this leak or that leak, Dawn Leaks, Panama Leaks. For instance for Dawn Leaks, the inquiry was completed with the consensus of civil and military leadership and the chapter was closed.”
Khawaja Saad Rafique angrily thumps the table and screams, “And still Imran Khan keeps repeating Dawn Leaks! Isn’t he over 60 years old? You need to check his head.”
Not to be left out, both Khawaja Asif and Khurram Dastgir Khan pound their fists and ask, “And how long will Imran Khan keep shouting Panama Leaks! Even the Supreme Court could not tell our brave leader Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif what wrong he did.”
“And our great leader Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif graciously resigned although he still does not know why he was kicked out,” chimed in Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Ahsan Iqbal stressed that there is need for forging unity among ranks of the nation to send across a message that the nation is united to face any conspiracies.
He added, “You know that political uncertainty has been caused in the wake of the JIT probe into the Panama Papers leaks and the Supreme Court verdict in the case.”
Once again Saad Rafique bangs his fist on the table, and declares, “Before Imran Khan started making all this fuss, no one was talking about corruption and this and that. Even when I was child, I was hearing that one should oil the palms of people, and that a picture of our dear Quaid-i-Azam on a red rectangle … you know the Rupee 100 note, which had some value then, was the way to get things done. The country was going on smoothly.
“Our brave leader Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif in all of his stints as Prime Minister has carried out so much infrastructure work. What else is part of such projects? Yes, there is some due share.
“Even American President Donald Trump is talking about infrastructure. Is anyone mentioning corruption in America?
“Now someone among you in the media … yes, you ARY News … has started this new story the Sharif family has transferred funds received as kickbacks in the construction of Multan Metro Bus project. What else projects need? A kick-start!
“A kickback is same thing as a kick-start.”
Finance Minister Dar adds his wisdom; “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the Multan Metro Bus project in January this year, which was completed at a cost of over Rs. 28 billion, which is nearly $28 million. It includes 21 bus stations spread over an 18.5 km route, which facilitate around 97,000 commuters daily.
“Just look at the economics of this great public project.
“Now what our friends here, ARY TV is saying that $10.75 million were transferred by the contractor YaBait to China, which is not registered in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program. Also that it is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
“There also accusations that these funds were transferred to Dubai, Mauritius and other countries. It is being alleged that former SECP chief Zafar Hijazi and advisors Muzaffar Mirza and Khalida Habib refused to share information. Also that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N leader Mushahidullah provided documents to the Chinese firm.
“Isn’t it the reality that Multan has a metro bus service? This wasteful corruption cries hurt the economy … they hurt the country.”
Ahsan Iqbal takes over and stresses, “Before anyone asks how we come up to this $14 billion figure, I will present you simple answers. You know that the cabinet of our respected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had 47 ministers, ministers of state, and advisors. Due to the Panama Leaks and JIT drama, at all times, more than half of them had to be at the Supreme Court and the JIT venue. And the other members of the cabinet were going to all TV stations to defend the honor of the nation, the honor of our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Now calculate the loss of work, plus what they would have earned as their rightful share. And their earnings would be have been invested overseas, providing jobs in our finance sector.”
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb cuts in with her remark, “And all the millions upon millions my department had to spend on advertising on TV channels about the greatness of our Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and the service he is doing to the nation. Plus a huge amount had to be spent on advertising against Imran Khan.
“And I am not mentioning the weighty envelopes that were being presented to some of you to further our mission of protecting the honor our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
“The downside of going against corruption is crystal clear. You realize that the real culprit is Imran Khan. He keeps crying and shouting like it was his money that was being taken.
“I am going to say through you, my respected people from the media: Imran Khan you are the cause of $14 billion loss. Yes, you Imran Khan. Going against corruption only hurts the nation.”