Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday said that a majority of members of the Punjab Assembly have confidence in the governance of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and that he is "not alone".
Speaking to reporters in Lahore after meeting the Punjab chief minister, Awan congratulated Buzdar, saying "all Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members" in the provincial assembly had today expressed their faith in him.
"Our opponents were spreading rumours every other day about the governance [and] performance of the Punjab chief minister," she said.
According to Awan, even members of the party which raised the slogan of "Vote ko izzat do" (honour the vote) during the elections — a reference to the PML-N — had expressed confidence in the chief ministership of Buzdar.
DawnNewsTV reported that a meeting of PTI's parliamentary party today endorsed Buzdar's leadership. Members of the party at the gathering chaired by Buzdar said they did not want the chief minister to be replaced, and they even stood up to applaud Buzdar as an expression of approval.
The SAPM's comments come after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s direction to Chief Minister Buzdar to monitor his cabinet members put the latter on his toes to activate provincial ministers to deliver in the face of the opposition’s concerns that there is a governance collapse and public services are scarcely available.
Amidst the recent reshuffle in the federal cabinet, sources had told Dawn that Buzdar had apprehensions about losing his own position owing to mounting pressure in the absence of good governance and the bureaucracy’s disregard to deliver.
'You are no longer orphans'
Awan said an "unnecessary" impression had been created that the PTI government wanted a confrontation with the media and was unconcerned with the issues faced by the media industry.
"I am here to assure you that Prime Minister Imran Khan, PTI and the Punjab chief minister are on the same page that you are our strength," she told media representatives and workers.
She said the government endorses the role played by the media in bringing PTI into power and considers it the "fourth pillar of democracy". The government wants to support media workers who have been affected by recent lay-offs, she added.
Awan said the prime minister had specially sent her to Punjab with the task to end the "communication gap" and "disconnect" between the government and the media as well as the disconnect that existed between the federal and Punjab governments' information departments.
She said she had identified the "institutional gaps" during a briefing with the Punjab government and urged the chief minister to pay the pending bills of media organisations "so you can come out of this economic crisis".
The government also decided to issue the interim wage award and the complete package approved by the prime minister will be shared with the media soon, she announced, adding that consultation process is underway to convert the same into permanent wage award "within no time".
"You are no longer orphans," she told media workers.
Awan said the government has to "put [its] house in order" in some areas. These "remnants of the previous government" are promoting "negativity" about the government's image instead of positivity, she added.
It was thus decided today that the provincial and federal media teams will supplement their efforts to work for the "positive image-building of Pakistan" and "positive perception of the government", the SAPM revealed.
With additional reporting by Umer Farooq in Lahore.