ISLAMABAD - A high-powered Commission of Inquiry, headed by Deputy Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Hussain Asghar, has been constituted to probe the increase of over Rs 24,000 billion in country’s debt in last decade, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Tuesday.

Addressing a news conference, Shahzad said the federal cabinet has accorded approval to constitution of the Commission. It has been tasked to report within a period of next six months and also fix the responsibility.

The ultimate aim of the government to recover the amount from the responsible, he said and added the independent commission will work under the Act of Parliament and will present interim report every month.

The members included the representatives of NAB, FIA, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Auditor General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) and Special Secretary Finance Division.

The chairman of the Commission has been empowered to hire the services of any member, firm and all ministries have been directed to extend optimum support to the chairman.

He said Federal Cabinet was told that country’s debt was Rs 6,690 billion in June 2008 which had registered phenomenal increase of Rs 30,846 billion in September 2018. The probe is essential to ascertain the exact spending of the borrowed money, when no major dam or major infrastructure project was completed in last decade.

The commission would also probe public contracts and benefits taken by the scions of public office holders and bureaucracy.

The commission has the powers to conduct forensic audit of the borrowed money. It can also hire the services of reputed international firm in this regard.

He said according to Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005, no government debt could exceed 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2012, the violation of Act was started when the debt limit has surpassed 60 percent of the GDP. The commission would probe violation of constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Responding to a question, the government has so far recovered over Rs1 billion. Country was paying Rs 2900 billion per annum on interest of the debts taken by precious regimes.

The process to repatriate former finance minister Ishaq Dar was continuing nowadays and he will be here after completion of the process.

Shahzad also claimed that British authorities have agreed to extradite Ishaq Dar to Pakistan under a memorandum of understanding.

Akbar said that an agreement in this regard has been reached, but extradition documents for Dar have yet to be signed.

He said that following the ratification of the document, Dar will be repatriated to Pakistan after being produced before a magistrate.

Akbar said that the entire process will be completed soon.