ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Monday that PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz had little respect for the Constitution, otherwise being a convicted person she would not have entered the Parliament House.
Addressing the Meet the Press programme at the National Press Club, she warned that if the opposition parties tried to use force during their protest against the government then the latter would respond to them in the same coin.
“One woman who has been convicted by courts came to the Parliament House today and made a statement that she does not recognise Imran Khan as prime minister,” Ms Awan said, adding, “Well I will only say to her that you do not believe in the courts, court’s decisions, Constitution of Pakistan, our institutions, system and democracy.”
She said Maryam Nawaz changed her narrative quite often but the reality is that she wants to leave the country. Even the Sharif brothers had different narratives.
PM’s special assistant warns opposition parties against using force during their protest against government
“One [brother] has gone missing in London while the other has landed in the prison,” the special assistant said.
Ms Awan said Maryam Nawaz was repeatedly saying “give respect to vote” though she actually meant “give respect to note”. “This is all about protecting the huge amount of money stacked in fake bank accounts.”
She acknowledged that the opposition had the right to protest but people had to see if such a protest was for public interest or the aim was to protect their corrupt deeds.
“This is unfair that a convicted person is chairing the meeting of elected parliamentarians; this is unfair, but they are abusing democracy to protect their wrongdoings,” she said, adding that the media should ask them [the lawmakers] if it was legal to allow a convict to chair such meetings.”
About the establishment of much talked-about `Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority’, the special assistant said that no step would be taken without taking all the stakeholders into confidence.
“No laws and regulation will be formulated to curb media freedom or to put media workers’ jobs at risk,” she said.
The special assistant rejected the objections raised by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) over the launch of new TV channels, saying it was not only an anti-competitive behaviour but also an attempt to contain the growth of media industry in the country.
“We will discuss the matter with the PBA as new channels will not only generate revenue for the government but will also create job opportunities for journalists,” she added
The special assistant said that a settlement had been reached with those media houses where salaries had not been paid.
“Despite the fact that most of these advertisements were released by previous governments to be used against the PTI and its leadership, Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued directives that payments for these advertisements should be cleared,” she said.
She said that first tranche of these payment would be released before Eid with the precondition that managements would also pay salaries to their employees.
She said the government does not want any confrontation with the media.
“Media is the first line of defence and the government wants to develop a partnership with the media to steer the country out of current testing times,” she said.
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019