ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Friday said people had rejected the baseless and false propaganda of the opposition and its criticism against Prime Minister Imran Khan was only due to animosity and hostility towards him.
Speaking at a press conference to brief about decisions of the federal cabinet, she said Pakistan needed stability and a suitable environment so that the nation, drowned in debt, could get investment from abroad.
“We want to end poverty and unemployment from the country,” she said adding that opposition had the right to protest but it should not tantamount to creating anarchy to hamper development process.
She said that people had to right to decide about the future of a government after completion of its tenure on the basis of performance. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan was making full efforts for restoring the positive image of the nation and for dispelling the negative propaganda against the country.
She said people disassociated themselves from the protest of the opposition on July 25 because it did not have anything to do with their problems.
She informed that it was decided in the federal cabinet meeting that the government would not stop rallies and public meetings of the opposition.
Dr Firdous said only a few hundreds of people came out on the call of opposition in Lahore which showed that their show was flop and people had rejected their criticism against the Prime Minister.
She said groups of people gathered in different cities and tried to create chaos in the guise of protest, adding the hue and cry of the opposition was baseless and unfounded.
She told that the cabinet congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on his successful visit to United States of America.
She said Chairman Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) told the cabinet about the activities of the “organized criminal mafia” and its unfortunate and shameless affairs in the national airlines for many years.
She said the opposition used the airlines as a rickshaw during the years 2008-2018 during their tenures.
National carrier was turned into personal carrier which did personal duties of former rulers, she noted.
She said 21 times, flights of PIA were re-routed to Sukkur and the national exchequer was deprived of a huge amount of money.
The nation paid Rs 270 million for expenses of former President Mamnoon Hussain, she said.
Airplanes were used indiscriminately from 2008 to 2018 and cronies were inducted and per plane ratio of crew reached 500, instead of the standard 200, she added.
She said hundreds of people were given jobs in PIA on political basis and union of PIA had 33 offices in its possession.
Rs 1.06 billion were spent on fifty special flights and Rs 954 million losses were suffered by the national airline due to this practice, she said adding Rs 280 million was paid while a PIA plane parked at an airport in London as a former prime minister was getting medical treatment in the hospital.
Former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and former president Mamnoon Hussain also misused the public money.
She said on the recommendation of the cabinet, it was decided that the money spent by former rulers on travel, Hajj and Umra expenses in violation of rules from the year 2008 to 2018 would be recovered from them.
She said now due to efforts of the government, the earning of PIA had increased by 40 percent and through an austerity drive the expenditure were cut by 20 percent. Now PIA had started a journey towards profitability and capacity building of its human resource was being done, she added.
Replying to a question, she said that the government believed in role of the opposition and its right to protest. She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no personal enmity against the opposition parties’ leadership, he only wants that plundered national wealth should be recovered from them. She said if the opposition faces the cases about corruption in courts and returns the laundered money, the government was ready to work with it.
To a question, she said that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has proposed media courts on the pattern of tax courts. She said that it would it will not be imposed without the consensus among stakeholders.