PM Kakar did not dismiss power protests as ‘non-issue’: info minister

Published September 3, 2023
In this August 18 photo, Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this August 18 photo, Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar did not dismiss protests over inflated electricity bills as a “non-issue”, the government’s spokesperson clarified on Saturday.

In a statement, Caretaker Info­rmation Minister Murtaza Sola­ngi said that a day earlier, the prime minister was asked during an interaction with journalists whe­ther electricity bills had caused chaos or anarchy in the country.

The prime minister, he said, ruled out any anarchy but did not dismiss the matter as a “non-issue”, the minister said.

Some media outlets, including Dawn, had reported on Friday that PM Kakar had called the protests “a non-issue”, saying that it was being raised by some political parties as a “tool” in their election campaigns.

Premier only meant there was no anarchy, chaos as a result of protests, says Solangi

On Saturday, however, Mr Solan­­gi clarified the prime minister had not stated that the issue of ele­­c­tr­icity bills was not worrisome for the people, rather he explained the reasons behind expensive electricity.

“As a man in power, he knows the bills are ‘worrisome’ for the nation and he explained the reasons behind expensive electricity, however, this is not how it was reported,” he said.

“The ones responsible for the current economic situation are also twisting the statement and causing more chaos, just to stay relevant until election, which is sad,” Mr Solangi said.

“He never said the people’s problems were unjust or unimportant, he was referring to the law and order situation,” he added.

Mr Solangi said the prime minister had stated that the country had commitments with international organisations, assuring that a solution would be worked out for the people without compromising the promises made to international lenders.

Meetings

Separately, on Saturday, Caretaker Culture Minister Jamal Shah held a meeting with PM Kakar.

The discussion centred around various issues related to the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, as per a press release from the PM Office.

The meeting also delved into proposed strategies aimed at fostering Pakistani art and culture.

The prime minister highlighted the potential benefits of collaboration between the Ministry of Information and the National Heritage and Culture division in advancing the cause of arts and culture promotion.

Moreover, Mr Solangi also had a meeting with Mr Kakar, in the presence of Secretary Information and Broad­casting Zahoor Ahmed and Principal Infor­ma­tion Officer Muhammad Asim Khichi, according to a PM Office statement.

The minister briefed the prime minister on matters concerning his ministry, and they also discussed a proposed strategy for effectively presenting Pakistan’s narrative in a positive light during the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2023

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