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Petition in LHC wants govt to disclose details of foreign debt

LAHORE: A petition seeking directives for the government to disclose details of the country’s foreign debt was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday.

The petition states that debt burden to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio has climbed to 86 per cent.

The previous government and then finance minister Ishaq Dar concealed details of the country’s foreign loans from the public, it says, and adds the government’s economic direction can’t be set right without making these facts public.

The petition pleads that the court may order the government to bring details of debt burden to light and set up a secretariat of debt inquiry commission.

Earlier, on June 20, the federal government had formed a high-powered commission, headed by Hussain Asghar, to probe into the loans piled up over the past 10 years.

According to a notification, the 12-member commission comprised officials of National Accountability Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Intelligence Bureau, Military intelligence, Federal Board of Revenue and State Bank of Pakistan.

The federal government would hire national and international experts to conduct forensic audit of investment and expenditure of the past governments during the last 10 years, read the notification.

The high-powered commission will present its investigation report within six months, however the prime minister could extend its time frame. Meanwhile the commission would present its monthly progress report to the prime minister.

The commission would also probe all the development projects, kickbacks and contracts during 2008-2018. Embezzlement of government funds and alleged corruption in the development projects would also be investigated.

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