Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Saturday said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif has become a threat to Pakistan’s security as he kept on receiving salary from a foreign company while he had the portfolios of foreign, defence and water and power ministries. “Kh Asif’s act of receiving salary from a foreign company is a serious security breach, and the federal cabinet has already directed the Ministry of Interior to comprehensively investigate the matter,” she said while talking to reporters here. She disclosed that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Interior with instructions to investigate it from all angles – hidden and obvious – to determine as to how the one tasked with safeguarding the country’s national security, the defence minister, was working for another country and posing a security risk to Pakistan. “All the agreements and defence-related MoUs signed during his tenure as the defence minister, and all measures linked to Pakistan’s national security taken during the period will be evaluated,” she said. “The Dubai company should also be investigated to determine that on the international level, close links with which countries were of benefit to it,” she said, adding that it will also be probed that which countries were given access to “our national secrets”. “This is a serious security breach,” she said, promising that the media will soon be apprised of the facts that emerge from the investigation. Talking about the video leak case, DR Firdous said it will be premature to say anything regarding the outcome, and in any case, “we should not comment [on it] until the Supreme Court makes a final decision”. She did, however, go on to remark, “Yes, his [the judge’s] affidavit is an eye-opener and points towards the mafia-like nature of the party, how it traps people and uses them to their benefit, only to throw them away like a tissue paper later.” Dr Firdous said a competition was going on among the PML-N leaders to show their obedience to the Zil-e-Subhani of Jati Umra by holding workers conventions. “The PML-N leaders are in fact trying to get appreciation from their king,” she said, adding that the real forum to prove one’s innocence is the court but the PML-N leadership is reluctant to approach the same for remedy. She said the attention of people is being diverted by holding workers conventions. Whosoever is summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he/she starts making a hue and cry, she said, adding that a war of succession has also started at Jati Umra. She said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was the puppet prime minister selected by Zil-e-Subhani, wasted record public money on his useless foreign tours. “Those trading in millions wasted billions of rupees of the nation on futile foreign tours,” she said. “A lot of public money was given to the near and dear ones as tips besides TADAs and having lavish meals on government expense by the past rulers,” she added. Dr Firdous said Abbasi, during his brief tenure as prime minister, had undertaken 19 foreign trips with the entourage of 214 people costing Rs 259.59 million to the public exchequer. She said in 2017, Abbasi accompanied with 114 people went abroad nine times while in 2018, he undertook 10 foreign trips with 105 people and remained outside the country for 26 days. “A sum of Rs 5.48 million was wasted on giving tips to his courtiers by a courtier of the King,” she alleged. “Contrary to his claims of eating homemade meal, Abbasi as prime minister spent Rs 8.99 million on food,” she added. Likewise, Dr Firdous said, Abbasi spent Rs 37.73 million during his three tours of United Kingdom besides billions of rupees on his visits to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Afghanistan. “The country achieved nothing from Abbasi’s useless visits,” she lamented. Responding to a question, she said the government is negotiating with the traders to resolve their problems. “However traders having political agenda will be dealt with accordingly. The government cannot be blackmailed by anyone,” she added. She said out of 20,000 traders of Anar Kali Bazar (Lahore), only 600 pay taxes. “The country should no more be run through borrowing,” she said. “The trader wings of some political parties are compelling the businessmen to observe strike,” she claimed. She saw the nation-wide shutter down strike observed on Saturday as a natural consequence following major revamps efforts being made by the government towards the economy’s functioning. “The time has come to realise that when the status quo is challenged, a natural resistance follows. When you wish to no longer be a part of ‘the business as usual’ and wish to go towards reforms agenda and seek to ensure the implementation of the tax reforms which are the country’s need, the status quo beneficiaries will create hurdles in your path,” she said. “We have to look at the traders’ difficulties in two ways: the genuine type – where there are real problems, there is no harm in sitting together and talking on these concerns – and then there is the other type in which a middleman who is a leader of a trader wing of a party, seeks to take forward a political agenda and creates chaos and mayhem,” she said. “The real trader is considered by the government as its pivotal partner with which the wheel of progress, government, economy is attached,” she said. “A discussion on all their genuine issues will do no harm. Our doors are open for that. They should not feel the need to take out strikes to get their demands fulfilled,” she stressed. “We will ensure the rule of law and follow the set format of the FBR because the system cannot function without taxes. The country will no longer run on debt or borrowings from different places. This country will now stand on its own feet and the revenue generation will be provided through tax reforms,” she declared.