Action against corruption in road projects on cards: Fawad


Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced action against those who were involved in corruption committed through the expensive road infrastructure projects executed during the previous tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

The decision to this effect was taken during the federal cabinet meeting which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Fawad Hussain told the media persons.

He said Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed briefed the forum about the “hair-raising” corruption scandal in the National Highway Authority (NHA) which executed road projects worth Rs1 trillion at the most expensive rates during the previous tenure of the PML-N government (2013-2018).

Fawad said it had been observed that the rates on which the contracts for building road infrastructure were signed in 2013 were almost double than the agreements inked by the incumbent government for the purpose.

He said the federal cabinet was told that the roads being constructed by the NHA today were almost Rs100 million per kilometre cheaper than the roads built during the PML-N previous tenure.

Read More: Govt, PML-N bicker over UK court verdict

“It’s all happening despite the increase in price of all the material for road construction,” he added.

Murad Saeed apprised the forum about the plan being worked out to take action against those who were involved in this corruption, Fawad noted.

On the last weekend, both the ministers told the media about the massive corruption committed by the PML-N through motorway projects, besides sharing a comparative analysis of the expenses made by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-N’s.

Fawad, on the occasion, also asserted that the Sharif family had purchased Avenfield flats in London after committing massive corruption in the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M-1) project.

Giving details of the federal cabinet meeting, he said the electoral reforms had become a routine agenda of the forum which started its proceeding with discussion on introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and i-voting in the election.

There had not been a single sitting government in the past which laid emphasis on the electoral reforms as being given by the ruling PTI which wanted to take this issue forward, he noted, adding that it was the incumbent government which had launched campaigns to highlight the importance of EVMs in curbing rigging in the polls for once and all.

The minister welcomed the initiation of dialogue between the treasury and opposition benches in parliament on the electoral reforms and said the government wanted them to move forward.

“The use of EVMs and i-voting in the polls is our top priority,” he said while describing the remittances sent by the overseas Pakistanis to the country as an important part of the national economy.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed his Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan to discuss use of EVMs and i-voting as basics of the electoral reforms.

Ruling out the possibility of excluding the expats from the political system, he made it clear that introduction of i-voting and EVMs would be a mandatory part of the electoral reforms.

Explaining as to why the EVMs are crucial for electoral reforms, he said around 70 per cent disputes pertaining to the elections used to evolve during the time of vote count, adding that the gadget would reduce that time to the minutes.

The minister also cited report of Justice Nasirul Mulk led judicial commission on rigging to justify his claim that most of the polls related disputes occurred during the time of vote count.

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