Action planned over letters to IMF, World Bank against Pakistani institutions

By
M. Waqar Bhatti
IMF (left) and World Bank. — Reuters/File
IMF (left) and World Bank. — Reuters/File

  • Individuals involved in accusing national institutions.
  • Letters claim corruption, money laundering, official says.
  • Elements pressuring govt, relevant authority for past 5 years.


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and intelligence agencies will be put to task to take action against "notorious elements" attempting to "blackmail and coerce" government officials by writing letters to international organisations, officials said.

These individuals have been allegedly involved in levelling accusations against national institutions in the country, The News reported. 

A senior official from the National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination said the health ministry had intercepted several letters, emails, and memorandums directed to organisations, including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Health Organisation (WHO) and others.

The communications have purportedly urged the aforementioned organisations to stop funding and loan disbursement to Pakistan, making claims of corruption and money laundering within Pakistani individuals.

“We have intercepted several letters, emails and memorandums written to FATF, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations, asking them to stop funds and loans to Pakistan, charging that some Pakistani institutions and officials were ‘corrupt’ and ‘involved’ in money laundering”, the official told The News.

The official also mentioned that these elements have been pressuring the ministry and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for the past five years, seeking to resolve their cases before the Drug Court and asking permission to continue producing counterfeit, substandard and potentially harmful medicines.

According to letters and emails written to international monetary agencies by some so-called pharmacists, FATF, IMF, World Bank and WHO were urged to ‘stop funds and loans’ to Pakistan as officials in the ministry of national health and its institutions were ‘corrupt and involved in money laundering’, the official further claimed.

The health ministry official claimed that the principal accused is a person, who claims to be the secretary general of an unregistered pharmacist association and has a history of filing false and frivolous complaints before various authorities and judicial forums in Pakistan.

“Due to false and frivolous nature, various complaints filed by him to the [Federal Investigation Agency] FIA, [National Accountability Bureau] NAB and other Pakistani institutions have already been dismissed. But in order to blackmail the health ministry officials, they now have started approaching the international monetary agencies and financial institutions, which amounts to sedition," the official added.

Similarly, these elements have written emails to WHO Headquarters in Geneva, in WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) region and in Pakistan to stop giving international accreditation to DRAP and provincial laboratories, accusing DRAP and the ministry are marred with corruption, he mentioned.

“On the other hand, DRAP is currently in the process of being accredited by WHO and PIC/S (Pharmaceuticals Inspection Convention Scheme); the accreditations would place Pakistan among the World Health Organisation’s listed authorities in the world. However, the anti-state activities and constant false and frivolous complaints by these people are adversely affecting the process of accreditations," the official claimed.

When approached, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DRAP confirmed that their officials, including those involved in actions against spurious and unregistered drugs, had been being blackmailed for the last five years by a group of people for withdrawal of their cases against them in the drugs courts, saying these ‘elements’ were using all means including the use of mainstream and social media to malign the authority and its officials.

“All the Chief Executive Officers of DRAP including Dr. Muhammad Aslam, Shaikh Akhtar Hussain and myself have been black-mailed, threatened and pressurised not to take the action against people who were involved in producing fake, spurious and counterfeit medicines. Similarly, our senior officers in the licensing, registration and those involved in actions against counterfeit medicines are also being defamed and black-mailed," CEO DRAP Asim Rauf said.

Asim Rauf deplored that it is very easy to accuse any person of committing corruption in Pakistan without any evidence, adding that so far, no investigation agency, including FIA and NAB, have found any truth in these elements’ accusations.

"But in addition to approaching local investigation agencies, these people are involved in anti-state activities by lodging complaints with FATF, IMF, WHO and other international agencies, which amounts to high treason and sedition. On our requests, health ministry have approached FIA and intelligence to take action against these elements," he added.