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Firdous wants cabinet members to abandon 'poisonous narrative'

Updated June 04, 2019

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Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses a press conference at Lahore Press Club. — APP
Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses a press conference at Lahore Press Club. — APP

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday declared that cabinet members should "abandon the poisonous narrative that might affect someone's integrity".

Awan, who was speaking to journalists at the Lahore Press Club, said that members of the cabinet should keep in mind that they were "players in [Prime Minister] Imran Khan's team". She was speaking to journalists following the election of Arshad Ansari as LPC president.

"Recently, a public office holder fired at the frontline of the journalist [community]," she quipped, likely referring to the Twitter spat between Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and journalist Sami Ibrahim.

She admitted that cabinet members may have like and dislikes but said that expressing opinions must not clash with ministerial assignments.

"We (cabinet members) should not [adopt] the poisonous narrative that might affect someone's integrity, especially the journalist community," she said. "We should put a stop to verbal diarrhoea."

She insisted that instead of creating problems for the premier, cabinet members should lessen them. Awan clarified that the prime minister's ideology was not combative and that he consults all members of his team before taking any decision even if they disagree with him. The final decision, however, is based on consensus and everyone must respect it, she said.

Addressing the opposition, Awan said that labelling elected members with negative titles amounted to "disrespecting the sanctity of [their] office".

Awan insisted that people must "own and respect" every elected representative of the public on both provincial and federal levels.

"If you label the prime minister with [abusive] titles, it means that jealousy and hatred have taken over your heart [...] You are not just criticising the person who is occupying the chair, you are disrespecting the sanctity of the [office]," she said.

"People come and go, but the sanctity of institutions and [executive] office should always remain intact," she insisted.

She further said that the efforts she had made to resolve the complaints of the journalist community were in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan's "vision for journalists". She dispelled the notion that the government was trying to "drive [the media] against the wall", saying that the premier understood that the journalist community had strengthened his narrative which contributed to his victory in 2018 elections.