We cannot influence NAB: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an independent institution that takes decisions on its own and is not influenced by government.

“It doesn’t work under the government, we cannot influence it,” the foreign minister said while talking to the media.

“We cannot bring it under pressure neither will it take decisions at our behest,” he said. “NAB has to take decisions and it is autonomous.

“Our expectation is for NAB to support us in the process to eradicate corruption. The eradication of corruption is a pillar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s agenda.”

The minister noted, “We want corrupt elements, no matter which party they  belong to, to be uprooted and the class which had caused losses to the national exchequer to be held accountable.”

He added, “The nation expects NAB to keep moving forward, without any pressure or concession, for a corruption-free Pakistan”.

Talking about the current economic situation, Qureshi remarked that the country had fallen into debts due to the wrong decisions taken by the previous governments.

“At the end of the last government’s tenure, trade deficit was at a historical low, foreign direct investment (FDI) had fallen and loans increased by several folds.”

The foreign minister maintained, “[Prime Minister Imran] Khan has already said that the previous governments from 1948 to 2008 had heaped a load of Rs6,000 billion, and during the last 10 years, the country was placed under a burden of Rs30,000 billion.”

“Who is responsible for the increase in debt by Rs24,000 billion,” he questioned and said, “The 8-month-old government of the PTI could not be held responsible for this.”

Qureshi noted that the government was working assiduously to stabilise the economy.

When the PTI took charge, the foreign exchange reserves were sufficient only for two weeks. The PTI had to face the deteriorated situation and now the party is trying to put the things in order.

“Finance Minister Asad Umar or anyone else cannot resolve all the issues overnight or in the blink of an eye,” he observed¬.

The FM reaffirmed that investments would soon pour in and jobs will be created in the country.

“It is a challenge we have inherited from the previous government. It is our responsibility to overcome the challenge and with the help of God we will overcome the challenge,” Qureshi assured.

Speaking about Friday’s blast that took place at the Hazar Ganji market in Quetta, Qureshi said, “We don’t want to engage in political point scoring. Through investigation, we have to see if there is a sectarian or international force behind it. Pakistan is a responsible country and will not act like India that issues irresponsible statements.”

He stressed the need for maintaining peaceful relations with Tehran and reiterated that Pakistan does not interfere in the international affairs of India and Afghanistan.

Qureshi said that Islamabad will welcome “any engagement for peace” from the new government to be formed in New Delhi. But Pakistan will maintain a high level of preparedness till May 19, when elections in India will conclude, he added.