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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Monday said the PTI government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan is rapidly achieving success in every field including the economic field.

Addressing a press conference at the National Press Club along with the press club president Shakeel Anjum and secretary general Anwar Raza, the minister said Imran Khan government will complete its five-year constitutional term and the opposition will have to accept the reality.

He said the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021 has been presented in the House to protect the lives and health of journalists.

Imran Khan’s priority is the welfare of the common man, the new Pakistan scheme for the low-income class, Cash Emergency Program for those living below the poverty line, scholarships for students, and other programs for the general public is an example this government is focusing on the welfare of the people of Pakistan.

Habib said that the press clubs are always the center of journalists, and we have come to the government by recording protests outside these press clubs. The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision is clear that media is the fourth pillar of the state. The passage and implementation of the bill is crucial to ensure the protection of free media and journalists and a free environment for them. In the past, legislation was enacted but stakeholders were unaware of it. He said the instructions of the prime minister should be followed for this bill.

He appreciated the efforts of Information Minister Fawad Hussain and Dr Shireen Mazari. The bill has been presented in the Assembly and has gone to the Standing Committee. He said all the stakeholders were involved in the drafting of this bill. Even today, if there are more positive suggestions regarding this bill, bring it and we will include it in this bill. An independent commission is being formed under this bill in which there will also be representation from the Federal Union of Journalists and the National Press Club. Training of journalists; and insurance is also mandatory. This is a comprehensive bill covering all aspects of journalism.

He said every servant has a dream to have his own home, the government has created facilities to fulfill this dream, and PM Imran Khan started working on this agenda as soon as he took over the government.

He said, 68 percent of the Punjab population is working class. One percent of them are homeowners, 52 percent are homeowners who are in a better position, and are being given easy loans to repay in 10 to 20 years at low interest rates. He said journalists are the section of the society who would have been fighting the fifth generation warfare to bring the voice of the oppressed and the government on the right path, to speak with one voice on national security issues and to protect the ideological consciousness of the country. The journalist community across the country who did not get a house under the government scheme will be included in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.

The journey will start from Rawalpindi to Islamabad and then will be extended to other cities. He said work was also being done on the issue of salaries of journalists and media workers. He said security of journalists would be ensured in this regard as well.

The minister said steps would be taken in collaboration with the CDA and the press club management regarding its own building of the National Press Club, Islamabad. He said the country’s exports grew by 13.5 percent, large-scale industries were growing at 9 percent, total foreign exchange reserves had reached 23 billion, rice production was 13 percent, maize 7 percent, and wheat 7 percent. Production increased by 8.1 percent.

He said Ishaq Dar of the PML-N had laid mines in the economy, left 15 days of foreign reserves, exports were declining, trade deficit was Rs40 billion and remittances had stopped.

Minister of State Farrukh Habib said that our government has brought reforms, created Bureau of Statistics, market prices are being brought out in accordance with the UN procedures, it is good news for the people that inflow of 55 billion in Pakistan by the end of the financial year.

If anyone has an objection, we will reassure them in every way, he added.

New master plans for big cities are being brought.

He said that Ring Road Rawalpindi would be built in the same period, according to the original alignment. He said that in the past many issues had also come to light regarding the Lahore Motorway from Islamabad, but no action was taken against the motorway.

Habib said the issue of Rawalpindi Ring Road project re-alignment was brought to the fore by an investigative journalist and neither the opposition nor the prime minister himself took notice and action was taken against those responsible after the inquiry. He said the work on Airport Metro will be completed soon. If we are running the loss-making Orange Bus, it will also be completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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