Political careers of Zardari and Nawaz have ended, says information minister

Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the prospect of the opposition PML-N and PPP coming together to launch a movement against the government did not make the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) administration nervous at all.

Talking to reporters in Lahore, the minister in his customary sarcasm-laced tone said the government would, in fact, welcome the PPP and PML-N joining hands because it would make it convenient to deal with them together. He even went so far as to suggest a name for such an alliance: “Thugs of Pakistan” — a play on the title of the 2018 film Thugs of Hindostan.

He said while the Bollywood movie had performed badly in cinemas, “Thugs of Pakistan” would prove to be an even bigger failure.

He once again claimed that the political careers of PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif have ended. “This is the last segment of the film of 1985 politics,” the minister added.

Chaudhry said Pakistan had faced a debt of Rs6 trillion when the government of former president retired General Pervez Musharraf ended, but the debt rose by 84 per cent to Rs30 trillion when Nawaz Sharif’s tenure ended. “Where has this money gone?” he asked.

He alleged that Sharif’s children had become “billionaires” at an age when an average Pakistani child isn’t even eligible to be issued a national identity card.

The minister said all eyes were on the accountability court in Islamabad, which will announce its verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Sharif on Monday. Noting that the references had taken 15 months to conclude, Chaudhry said the case was “straightforward” as it concerned the question of where the money came from to purchase high-end properties in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia by the Sharif family.

Recounting the efforts of the government to end a culture of corruption, he said it was now time for an improvement in Pakistan’s economy. He claimed that those who were predicting that the country would go into default regarding its balance of payments were left red-faced when the UAE announced its intention to deposit $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan to support the country’s foreign currency reserves and help enhance liquidity. More such announcements will be made in the coming days, Chaudhry revealed.