ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said that as media had a pivotal role in promotion of democracy, good governance, ensuring transparency and merit as well as creating awareness among the masses, the government would extend its full support to media in that respect.
He said media had played an important role in conveying the ideology of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to the masses and making it a success. “If media would not have been there, I would not have been here (on this position). We will fully support media,” he remarked.
The prime minister expressed these views during a meeting with the delegation of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) here.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Special Assistant to PM on Media Iftikhar Durrani, Senator Faisal Javed and Secretary Information Shafqat Jalil were also in the meeting.
The APNS delegation felicitated Imran Khan on being elected as the prime minister and apprised him of the problems faced by the newspaper industry.
The prime minister said a strategy was being formulated for the payment of arrears of media, pending since the previous governments, so that the problems of newspaper industry could be resolved.
The prime minister said that the PTI had attained this position after a struggle of 22 years, adding it had come to power due to its political efforts and with the support of masses.
“When I entered the politics, my struggle was not against the politicians but mafias. I know which party has evolved in which nursery. The PTI has not grown in any incubation center,” he remarked.
The prime minister said that no political party in Pakistan’s history had struggled as much as the PTI had.
He said Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who achieved his objective through continued struggle and democratic means, was his ideal in politics.
The prime minister said his political competition was with those who were criminals and calling them democrats was the insult of democracy.
He said not a single case of political victimization was registered during the previous PTI tenure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Whereas, the Prime Minister said, over 30 cases were made against him during the previous government’s tenure including eight in the Election Commission and two in the Supreme Court.
Imran Khan said that due to highlighting the Panama Papers issue, he had to face character assassination and for that purpose women were used.
The prime minister while making a political comparison of provinces said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was earlier famed for not giving the mandate again to any political party, honored PTI with the two-thirds mandate in 2018 election.
He said as the PTI was a democratic party its government did not make any intervention in the recent bye-elections in Punjab.
The prime minister said after the 2013 election, he had demanded to open only four constituencies and continued to strive for that purpose for a year, but the then government did not open them
.:The prime minister said media was the opinion maker of society and it would have to play its role to protect the country. He said those now making tall claims of pro-democrats were actually anti-state elements, adding that those ( so-called democrats) under the garb of democracy had damaged the country more than the enemy.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan was pushed into debt-trap during the last ten years and the country’s debts had increased from Rs six trillion to Rs 30 trillion. He said every department of the country was in losses.
PIA’s losses had reached Rs 400 billion annually, gas sector loss was Rs 150 billion, circular debt had reached to Rs 1200 billion.
The prime minister said Rs six billion was spent on daily basis just to pay installments of the loans. He said the power sector was in shamble and the government, in such a situation, had only two options, either to take help from friendly countries or go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan had vast potential as compared to others, adding that corruption had destroyed departments of the country.
A leader could only amass money when he put his own people in the government’s departments and destroyed them. He posed a question which kind of democracy it was when blue eyed were placed in those departments and institutes to amass money.
The prime minister said the government was conducting audit of Rs 30 trillion loans so that it could be traced out where the money was spent and which projects were materialized from those loans. He said the bleeding wound of corruption had spread to the entire country where money was being made at all levels.
He said the FIA had unearthed several fake accounts and the government was bound to rectify that situation. He said the country had never witnessed such a critical situation in the past as it was facing today.
The prime minister said the government had started an austerity drive and added that only the annual cost of maintenance of dozens of fleets of luxury cars of prime minister’s protocol and 528 staff of the palatial PM House was Rs 350 million annually. The public money was misused blatantly and that was why people avoid to pay taxes, he added.
The government, the prime minister said would have to see how to use the development funds so that education, health and other facilities to the people could be improved.
The country would be in a take-off position by the grace of Allah Almighty very soon, the prime minister said and added foreign remittances would have to be enhanced.
He said current foreign remittances of the country were around $40 billion out of which only $20 billion were being received through banking channels, which would be enhanced to $30 billion.
The prime minister said that export industry in the past was destroyed while the present government was making it stronger and expressed the hope that Pakistan’s exports would be increased to $30 billion.
He said money laundering was not blocked in the past while the present government was taking concrete steps to block it. He hoped that the odd time would pass. “It is not my personal but country’s issue as Pakistan is in crisis situation and you have to play your role,” he added.