Information minister says committee will determine who caused millions in dollars of loss to public exchequer
Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Monday constituted a three-member ministerial committee to probe the Broadsheet LLC scandal and determine who caused losses in millions of dollars to the public exchequer.
Chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the federal cabinet meeting tasked Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, and Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari with reviewing Pakistan’s agreement with Broadsheet LCC from 2002 to 2018. They have been tasked to submit a report within 48 hours on who damaged the national economy by forcing the government to pay a fine to Broadsheet for severing an assets recovery deal with the U.K.-based firm.
In a subsequent appearance on Geo News, Faraz claimed Pakistan had paid a heavy price to Broadsheet due to previous governments’ inability to defend the National Accountability Bureau ending its agreement with Broadsheet in breach of contract.
Admitting that the matter fell within the purview of the Pervez Musharraf-led military government that ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2007, he said that the probe was required to fix responsibility. However, he attempted to place the blame on the previous governments of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party, claiming their “looting” had been “proven” during arbitration proceedings.
However, the ruling—made public by the government on Monday—clearly spells out that NAB was at fault, as it ended the contract with Broadsheet without any regard for the economic harm it would cause to the assets recovery firm. “I hold, that was reckless conduct by NAB which give rise to tortuous liability, as alleged,” read the ruling.
Faraz, in his interview, sought to offload the blame on PPP and PMLN leaders, claiming they had inflicted “colossal damage” to the economy through their wrongdoings. He was unable to justify how that squared with the flawed deal that had been inked by the Musharraf regime in the first place.
Pakistan last week paid $28.706 million to Broadsheet LLC after losing arbitration proceedings at the London High Court. The amount was transferred from the Pakistan High Commission on behalf of NAB for tracing allegedly illegally secured foreign assets of dozens of Pakistanis—though it failed to find any assets that were proven to have been secured through illegal actions.