Lahore : Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday asked
the opposition and the media to work for strengthening the country by
setting aside personal agendas for the time being.
Talking to media persons here outside the Punjab Assembly,
she said the opposition and the media had a vital role to play in
democracy. The opposition parties should play the role of a
responsible opposition as the country could not afford political
instability in the current scenario.
It was not the time for ‘political wrestling’, rather the
opposition should use its energies to help improve the economy, she
added. “Let’s forsake politics for the time being and wage an economic
war for the country.”
The opposition should stand by the government in implementing its
economic reforms agenda and help formulate a long-term economic policy
for the country, the minister said.
Regarding the media, Firdous said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI) government firmly considered the media as the fourth pillar of
state and Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed her as his special
assistant to look into the problems being faced by the media persons.
She would bridge the communication gap between the
provincial government, and the media workers and the media houses. The
interim wage board award had been finalized, which would be announced
shortly, she added.
She said she had requested Punjab Chief Minister Usman
Buzdar to pay the outstanding bills of the media industry.
Firdous said the government would welcome constructive criticism
from the media. She dispelled the impression that the PTI was on the
warpath with the media .
To a query, Firdous said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister
Usman Buzdar were on the same page. There was no truth in the rumours
regarding the poor governance and performance of the Punjab
government. The PTI’s parliamentary party in the Punjab Assembly in
its meeting today expressed full confidence in the leadership of Usman
Buzdar, she added
She said the prime minister had tasked the new finance
team to make a people-friendly budget in order to provide maximum
relief to the masses. The government would be able to cope with the
financial challenges, she added.
To a question about the former finance minister, she said Asad
Umar was he was a time-tested friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He
had rendered invaluable services for the PTI Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf
(PTI). A ‘poor inning’ did not mean that he was not a ‘good player’,
Firdous said there were many challenges on the economic front and
Dr Hafeez Sheikh, who had excellent professional skills, was given the
reins of finance ministry to overcome them.
She expressed the hope that Dr Hafeez Sheikh would be able
to get a better financial package from the International Monetary Fund
for the country.
She said the Punjab Information Ministry would work in
close collaboration with the media industry. The remnants of the
previous regime were a hurdle in the improvement of relations between
the PTI government and the media. The provincial government would
bridge the communication gap with the media and hold monthly press
briefings on its the performance, she added.
The special assistant said she was in the information
ministry to connect the missing links in communication between the
media industry and the government.
To a question, Firdous said the PTI government was working hard to
turn Punjab into a political fortress of the party.