Govt decides to toughen stance on opposition

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan says people have rejected opposition's call for protest


Rizwan Ghilzai July 26, 2019
PM Imran Khan says Pakistan is out of an economic crisis. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government has resolved to toughened its stance on the opposition, which on Thursday observed country wide protest rallies at the first anniversary of last year's July 25 general election, which, it claims, was highly rigged.

The government has, however, also decided not to stop rallies and public meetings of the opposition parties – particularly Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl –so that they may get exposed.

Talking with reference to opposition while addressing his government's spokespersons on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said those who were convicted in corruption cases are now misleading people.

"People involved in graft are appearing on TV to become political martyrs. However, the accountability process will continue without any discrimination," Imran added.

He also briefed the party representatives about his recent trip to the US and claimed that Pakistan has come out of the economic crisis and all possible relief is being given to common people on basic items.

According to sources, it was decided that the government would toughen its stance on opposition.

Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addressed a press conference after the meeting and claimed that the opposition failed to convince people to protest on Thursday against Prime Minister Imran Khan's government.

She said people have rejected the 'baseless and false' propaganda of the opposition and its criticism against Prime Minister Imran Khan, which, she said, is only due to animosity and hostility towards him.

"Pakistan needs stability and a suitable environment so that the nation, drowned in debt, could get investment from abroad. We want to end poverty and unemployment," she said, adding that opposition has the right to protest but it should not resort to creating anarchy to hamper development process.

"People have the right to decide about future of a government after completion of its tenure on the basis of performance.  Prime Minister Imran Khan is making full efforts for restoring positive image of the nation and for dispelling the negative propaganda against the country."

She said people have disassociated themselves from the black day protests because they did not have anything to do with their problems. Only a few hundred people came out on the call of opposition in Lahore which shows that their show was a flop and people have rejected them.

The PM's aide also shared details of Thursday's federal cabinet meeting and said it was decided in the meeting that the government would not stop rallies and public meetings of the opposition. She said the cabinet congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on his successful visit to the United States.

PIA improving

"Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chairman told the cabinet about activities of the 'organised criminal mafia' and its unfortunate and shameless affairs in the national airlines for many years," she said.

Dr Firdous said the opposition used the airlines as a rickshaw from 2008-2018 during their tenures.  The national flag carrier was turned into personal carrier of former rulers, she claimed

She said the PIA flights were re-routed to Sukkur 21 times and the national exchequer was deprived of a huge amount of money. The nation paid Rs270 million for expenses of former President Mamnoon Hussain, she said.

"In the PIA cronies were inducted and per plane ratio of crew reached 500, instead of the standard 200. Hundreds of people were given jobs in the PIA on political basis and the PIA union occupied 33 offices."

She said Rs1.06 billion were spent on fifty special flights and Rs954 million losses were suffered by the national airline due to this practice. Rs280 million were paid when a PIA plane was parked at an airport in London while a former prime minister was getting medical treatment in a hospital.

She said former PMs – Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf – and former president Mamnoon Hussain also misused authority.  On the recommendation of the cabinet, it was decided that the money spent by former rulers on travel, Hajj and Umra in violation of rules would be recovered.

She said now due to efforts of the government, the earning of PIA has increased by 40 per cent and through an austerity drive the expenditure are cut by 20 per cent. "Now the PIA has started a journey towards profitability and capacity building of its human resource."

To a question, she said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has proposed media courts on the pattern of tax courts. "However, the idea would not be imposed without the consensus among stakeholders," she added.

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