Hafiz Saeed’s arrest not linked to PM’s US visit: Firdous

Updated July 21, 2019

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SPECIAL Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing the press conference on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
SPECIAL Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing the press conference on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday said that the arrest of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed or the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had nothing to do with the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the US.

The trip was aimed at addressing needs of the National Action Plan (NAP), she added.

Addressing a news conference at the Press Information Department, Ms Awan said that the conspiracy hatched by India to include Pakistan in FATF’s blacklist had been foiled by the friends of the country, including China and Malaysia.

Decries PML-N for spreading false information about Punjab forensic lab

“But the arrest of the religio-political leader of a proscribed party was part of the ongoing measures under the National Action Plan,” Dr Awan added.

She said that Prime Minister Khan’s visit to the US along with the army chief and the ISI director general clearly indicated that the civilian and military leaders of the country were on the same page.

“This shows that they are putting the national interest above all things, unlike the past when those in authority used to speak against the national institutions,” she added.

“During his visit to the US, the prime minister will sensitise the international community about sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in bringing peace and stability to the region,” she said, adding that Pakistan had a pivotal role in peace efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in Afghanistan.

The special assistant said this visit had set an example of austerity as the prime minister was travelling in a commercial flight and would stay at the residence of the Pakistan ambassador in the US as opposed to the past when up to $600,000 was spent on a single visit by the ‘aristocrats of the country’.

“Lavish expenditures do not necessarily yield desired results, and Prime Minister Imran Khan is not the kind of person who would take a chit out of his pocket to talk to the US leadership,” said the special assistant.

Dr Awan lambasted the PML-N leadership and called them ‘masters of falsehood’ over a news report circulating on media related to the Punjab forensic lab.

“The Punjab forensic lab is not equipped to deal with such things and the video is fake. The video has been forwarded to the FIA,” she said, adding that the final report would be presented to the Supreme Court by the FIA after it was finalised.

About the attire of Maryam Nawaz on Friday when she appeared in the NAB court, Dr Awan said she had “kept the caricature of Nawaz Sharif close to her feet”.

“Maryam Safdar Awan hinted that there were pressures on his highness Nawaz Sharif to make a deal; this is their way to float the idea of an NRO,” the special assistant said, adding, “But Prime Minister Imran Khan has time and again reiterated that the process of accountability will continue at every cost and there will be no NRO for anyone. Law will take its course in dealing with the corruption cases”.

Dr Awan congratulated the nation and the residents of erstwhile Fata over successful provincial assembly elections there. She paid tributes to the armed forces and civil institutions for restoring peace and order in the area.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2019