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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government was ready to cooperate with the opposition in the interest of the country and for the sake of democracy but there could be no compromise on the corruption done by people.

Addressing a joint-sitting of the Parliament, the prime minister said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-related legislation passed by the House was very important for the country's future, and to bring it out of the "grey list".

The prime minister thanked his party members and allies for getting the FATF-related bills passed, and said that their conduct had proved that "they stand by Pakistan".

He regretted the conduct of the opposition parties, saying they created hurdles in the way of the legislation.

He said the opposition tried to "blackmail" the government to protect their vested interests, and the looted money of their top leaders. The prime minister said that during negotiations with the opposition, their behaviour "made it evident that their interests and Pakistan's interests are opposite". He said that they only sought to protect their own interests, and "attempted to blackmail us in every way possible".

He said the opposition had proposed 34 amendments out of 38 in the NAB law.

"They simply wanted to bury the NAB through legislation," he said.

"How a country can progress when billions of dollars were laundered abroad. This only puts pressure on our foreign exchange reserves. If the top opposition leaders are not involved in money laundering then why were they opposing the anti-money laundering bill?" he asked.

The prime minister said that illegally obtained funds were always kept abroad and invested in properties.

"The developing world is getting poorer because each year around $1,000 billion go to developed countries this way."

He said "dollars that were sent abroad, it ultimately puts pressure on the rupee".

He said that according to a report by the US State Department, money laundering worth $10 billion was carried out from Pakistan.

"And the loan that we took from the IMF is of $6 billion, and if we stop this money laundering, we will no longer need these loans," he said.

Talking about the recent incident of gang-rape on the Lahore motorway, the prime minister said that a comprehensive legislation would be enacted to award exemplary punishment to offenders.

He said that piece of legislation will also provide protection to the women and children.

He said it will also ensure protection of witnesses to convict the persons involved in such ghastly acts.

"Rape should be viewed in this way that it is something that destroys lives. In our culture, families suffer also, and the children, especially, have life-long trauma," he said.

The prime minister said the government will have a three-tiered approach. "First, we will have registration. Sex offenders everywhere are registered. They are usually repeat offenders," he said.

"Just like Abid. He was involved in a gang-rape in the past and he was able to get away with it," the prime minister said.

Citing the government's "success in emerging from the Covid crisis," he said even the World Health Organisation was asking others to "learn from us".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020