PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has stated that journalists have played an important role in promoting democratic norms in the country, strengthening of accountability, promoting transparency, defeating terrorism and promoting the soft image of Pakistan internationally.
While addressing the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected cabinet of Peshawar Press Club, the Chief Minister announced a onetime special grant of Rs 15 million for Peshawar Press Club and Rs.5 million grant for Khyber Union of Journalists along with announcing the provision of Sehat Insaf Cards to Journalists in the province.
The Chief Minister also announced the establishment of Media Colony stating that the scheme has already been approved which will solve the residential issues of journalists in the provincial capital. Minister Information Shaukat Yousafzai, Advisor to Chief Minister on merged districts Ajmal Wazir, Secretary Information Imtiaz Ayub, Director General Information Imdadullah Khan, Senior Journalists and Officials were also present on the occasion.
Recognizing the important role of media, the Chief Minister stated that Journalists have played an important role in strengthening of democratic culture in the country and exposing the corrupt practices which not only spread awareness among masses but also helped to bring about change in the political culture of the country. Mahmood Khan stated that the incumbent government believes in independence of press and constructive criticism which plays an integral role in democracies throughout the world.
The Chief Minister revealed that during the coming weeks, a comprehensive performance report of the provincial government will be presented before the public which will be helpful in communicating the development policy of the government to general masses.
The Chief Minister further said that the incumbent government has taken pragmatic steps for the welfare of Journalist community of the province which include establishment of residential media colonies, increase in the endowment funds, allocation of unemployment grant for up to two months, provision of financial assistance to journalists who are above 60 years of age, one time financial assistance for the weeding of siblings, financial assistance for medical treatments and provision of provisional allotment letters of residential plots to 325 journalists. He revealed that Rs. 14.7 Million have been provided to journalists in lieu of medical treatments under the Journalists Welfare Endowment Fund during the past five years despite meagre resources.
The Chief Minister assured that the government will undertake efforts for resolution of issues faced by the Journalists adding that a committee, comprising of the President Peshawar Press Club, President Khyber Union of Journalists, Regional Information Officers and Deputy Commissioners have been notified for resolution of internal disputes.
Mahmood Khan added that Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf led provincial government was faced with insurgency and rampant terrorism when it came into power during its previous tenure whereas during its present tenure, the provincial government was faced with the challenge of merging of tribal districts into the province.
He stated that Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf was successful in overcoming the challenges through honest efforts and positive role of journalists who worked sincerely for the national cause. Minister Information Shaukat Yousafzai, Advisor to Chief Minister for Merged Districts Ajmal Wazir also addressed the ceremony recognizing the vital role of media in strengthening of democratic norms.