ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said the so-called champions of democracy tried to use parliament as a shield and made mockery of the democracy by confining the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in his chamber.
Addressing a press conference at the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) office on Monday, she said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif, “who is wanted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” should not comment on performance of ministers.
Calling him ‘Iqama Asif’ in a derogatory reference to his holding employment visa of a Gulf state, she advised the PML-N leader to answer to NAB’s allegations with regard to his alleged assets that, according to her, cannot be made through his known sources of income.
“The ‘Railu Kattey’ [novices] in politics are trying to survive on borrowed oxygen cylinders. They had gone to Raiwind for borrowing cylinders,” she said in an apparent reference to the recent meeting between the PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto.
She made it clear that despite all pressure by the opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan would never budge from his principled stance and would never open back-door for providing them any relief.
Dr Firdous lamented that the opposition, “which has no reasons to justify their viewpoint,” has started making personal attacks on the prime minister “who is an honest person and even opposition could not accuse him of corruption.”
She said Imran Khan during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) summit in Bishkek, was centre of attraction while his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was sidelined like "the 12th man in a cricket match". She said the nation has great expectations from the PM who will never let them down.
She alleged that the opposition parties during their rule totally ruined the national economy and now they were wondering how it has started improving. “The government with the support of its allies would not only get the budget passed from the National Assembly but also achieve the targets set in it.”
Dr Firdous claimed that differences within the PML-N were becoming more pronounced and before launching an agitation against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, they should first overcome their internal differences.
“It is strange that a gang that was involved in loot and plunder of national resources for ten years, is asking the government, which took over only ten months ago, to be accountable for present situation.”
She was of the opinion that the newly-born political leadership could not create any problems for the PTI government. To a question, she said issuance of production order for detained lawmakers is a prerogative of the NA speaker and the government has nothing to do with it.
“If production orders of detained legislators are issued, the government will make arrangements for their arrival in parliamentary sessions,” she added.
She said now the PML-N leadership is calling the PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari a political prisoner, while they themselves kept him in jail for several years.
Earlier briefing the media about the decisions taken in a meeting, chaired by her at Pemra, she said they had decided to establish media tribunals for speedy disposal of cases related to media.
“A summary has been moved for this purpose; [for] modification of Pemra rules to include social media in its domain; [for] launching direct-to-home system and digitalisation of cable network and to organise capacity building workshops for the media professionals,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2019.