ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broad-casting, Chaudhary Fawad Hussain said on Friday that he was surprised at the unfair response of PML(N) leaders, including Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif to what Prime Minister Imran Khan asked Pakistani envoys abroad to do. The PM had simply asked them to have close relations with Pakistani expatriates and address their grievances.
"This is the first time that a Pakistani Prime Minister is standing with labour instead of the elite. This is our motto," he said, adding: “look at the details of incidents which compelled the Prime Minister to raise this issue.”
Citing an example of a Pakistani embassy, which is now being investigated, the Minister said that a Pakistani housewife, who had been frequently raped had sought help from the embassy and the person who was dealing with her complaint said to her that she was a “thrice divorced” person, and threatened to hand her over to the police. She got scared and returned to the same house where she was being raped.
"If Prime Minister does not take notice of this, then who will? If Prime Minister cannot stand with the labourer or the poor, then we have no right to be in the government," he maintained.
The Information Minister said the Prime Minister has already praised those envoys who actively facilitated Pakistani labourers during their repatriation after the global financial crisis but there are embassies that barred people from entering even their premises. He asked: “Shouldn't the government initiate action against those embassies?”
He said this is the first time when Overseas Pakistanis remittances are more than the total volume of exports, adding that Pakistani manpower abroad needs respect.
The minister said Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations are very deep and with the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan a new dimension will be added to the current bilateral relationship between the two countries. He said, lately, Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman interacted with Iran but Imran Khan is the first Muslim ruler who expressed a desire to see cordial relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
During Prime Minister's visit, deliberations will be held to strengthen bilateral relations, in addition to economic cooperation.
Commenting on current political scenario, he said the opposition parties will have to demonstrate seriousness by rising above political point-scoring in order to remove loopholes from the electoral system.
He contended that the government wants such elections which are acceptable to all political parties. However, opposition parties will have to make their case in courts.
Commenting on by-election in NA-249 Karachi, Information Minister said that PTI was demanding re-poll from day one and now other political parties are also demanding the same.
"Seals of bags were not intact, every vote was tampered with and Forms 45 and 46 are not available. I have been saying from day one that this is a case of re-polling not recounting. Now I am happy that PML(N) and other parties are also demanding the same," he said.
He reiterated that the government is ready to approach opposition parties and hold talks with them but they should show seriousness, adding that court cases are not everything; they have to fight their cases in courts.
Information Minister stated that opposition is opposing voting rights for Overseas Pakistanis. "In my view, opposition needs to review its conduct,” he added.
The minister said that the promises made by the PTI are being met, adding that he is compiling data on the jobs provided to people during the ongoing tenure of PTI. He said over 1.1 million people have been sent abroad by the Khan administration. Commenting on loans for new houses, he said, the Prime Minister’s office has received applications for loans of Rs 52 billion, of which Rs 12 billion has already been disbursed.
Chaudhary said the federal cabinet has approved ‘Journalists Protection Act’ under which it will be the responsibility of media organizations to provide safety equipment to journalists before sending them to conflict zone. He said a body will also be formed to address the complaints of journalists. He said payments of four hundred million rupees have been released to media organizations so that they could disburse salaries to media workers on time.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021