Firdous asks opposition to set aside personal agenda, help strengthen Pakistan

LAHORE, Apr 22 (APP):Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday asked the opposition and the media to work for strengthening the country by setting aside personal agendas for the time being.
Talking to media persons here outside the Punjab Assembly, she said the opposition and the media had a vital role to play in democracy. The opposition parties should play the role of a responsible opposition as the country could not afford political instability in the current scenario.
It was not the time for ‘political wrestling’, rather the opposition should use its energies to help improve the economy, she added. “Let’s forsake politics for the time being and wage an economic war for the country.”
The opposition should stand by the government in implementing its economic reforms agenda and help formulate a long-term economic policy for the country, the minister said.
Regarding the media, Firdous said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government firmly considered the media as the fourth pillar of state and Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed her as his special assistant to look into the problems being faced by the media persons.
She would bridge the communication gap between the provincial government, and the media workers and the media houses. The interim wage board award had been finalized, which would be announced shortly, she added.
She said she had requested Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to pay the outstanding bills of the media industry.
Firdous said the government would welcome constructive criticism from the media. She dispelled the impression that the PTI was on the warpath with the media .

To a query, Firdous said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar were on the same page. There was no truth in the rumours regarding the poor governance and performance of the Punjab government. The PTI’s parliamentary party in the Punjab Assembly in its meeting today expressed full confidence in the leadership of Usman Buzdar, she added.
She said the prime minister had tasked the new finance team to make a people-friendly budget in order to provide maximum relief to the masses. The government would be able to cope with the financial challenges, she added.
To a question about the former finance minister, she said Asad Umar was he was a time-tested friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He had rendered invaluable services for the PTI Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI). A ‘poor inning’ did not mean that he was not a ‘good player’, she added.
Firdous said there were many challenges on the economic front and Dr Hafeez Sheikh, who had excellent professional skills, was given the reins of finance ministry to overcome them.
She expressed the hope that Dr Hafeez Sheikh would be able to get a better financial package from the International Monetary Fund for the country.
She said the Punjab Information Ministry would work in close collaboration with the media industry. The remnants of the previous regime were a hurdle in the improvement of relations between the PTI government and the media. The provincial government would bridge the communication gap with the media and hold monthly press briefings on its the performance, she added.
The special assistant said she was in the information ministry to connect the missing links in communication between the media industry and the government.
To a question, Firdous said the PTI government was working hard to turn Punjab into a political fortress of the party.