Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Monday said the government was firmly saddled and the national and provincial assemblies will complete their constitutional terms come rain or sunshine.
He was addressing a news conference with Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda here.
Shibli said Prime Minister Imran Khan was ready for dialogue with the serious-minded opposition leaders on public issues minus JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz.
He made it clear that the dialogue forum would be the parliament, as it represented the people’s will. “National dialogue is part of politics but both Maryam Nawaz and Fazlur Rehman, who are not part of the legislature, will be excluded [from this process]. But the opposition has rendered it unfunctional,” he maintained.
Referring to the opposition’s public meetings, he contended that they were trying to oust a democratically- elected government undemocratically.
About the PDM public meeting in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh a day earlier to mark the 13th death anniversary of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, the minister charged that a political arena was set up in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and ‘we believe that Benazir Bhutto was killed yesterday’.
Shibli said the political parties, which caused anguish to Benazir and her father, were today embracing each other. To a question about internal differences in JUI-F, Shibli said those who termed Fazl ‘selected’ were insiders and enjoyed good reputation and status in the party like Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed.
Fawad said inviting the PML-N leader to attend Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary was a shame for the PPP and a lesson for the PML-N. He explained that the PML-N was in the forefront of distributing sweets on martial law and when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was hanged, the PML-N was still distributing sweets.
He pointed out that seven soldiers were martyred in Balochistan on Sunday but no one said anything about it; however, statements were made against Punjab, the army and the judiciary.
“When the PML-N is in Punjab, they ask wake up Punjabis, wake up. When their leaders are in Sindh, they are seen siding with Benazir. When they are with the army, they pretend to be too loyal to them. But when they are in India, they say all the trouble is due to the army. Even a chameleon does not change colors as fast as the PML-N leadership does,” he asserted.
Referring indirectly to Maryam, he said the one who never ran her own kitchen and never did any work was giving her CV to become prime minister. What could be more insulting than that, he remarked.
Faisal Vawda emphasised that the doors of Pakistan were closed for Nawaz Sharif. Criticising Maryam, he charged that she was raising hue and cry but her ability for democracy was zero and that those who were standing behind her with their hands tied were their born slaves.
“The opposition says the elections were rigged. Two and a half years later, you came up with this idea. Why didn’t you go to the Election Commission and give any evidence to substantiate it?” he asked.
He said it was stated that General Ahmad Shuja Pasha ‘collected trash’ and formed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) but they forgot to mention that Zia-ul-Haq had also brought PML-N into politics.
He said it was being said that the doors of Pakistan had been closed for Pervez Musharraf, while he would like to say that the doors of Pakistan had also been closed for Nawaz Sharif. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said those pointing the finger at national institutions to shore up their politics couldn’t be champions of democracy.
He expressed the views while talking to Adviser to Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, who met him here, says a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. The two discussed constitutional, legal and political issues. The prime minister termed the strengthening of institutions important for the strengthening of democracy.
“All pillars of the state are working within their jurisdiction for the development of the country,” he emphasised. Babar Awan termed the government policies of economic stability and prevention of corona important achievements. Referring indirectly to the opposition parties, he said the “prophets of gloom” had no future in Pakistan.
The meeting also discussed in detail the upcoming Senate election. Half of the members of the Senate will retire on March 11. On the contrary, the opposition parties, under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement, have insisted that holding of the elections before time would be unconstitutional and it would be resisted.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khurshid Khalid also called on the prime minister and discussed development and promotion of tourism, provision of maximum employment opportunities to local people, special focus on eco-tourism and protection of glaciers and forests.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of the government spokespersons and party leaders, he directed the party leaders to defend the army and other state institutions and said ‘the army is our institution and its defence is a national responsibility.
The meeting discussed in detail the current political situation, economic scenario and the opposition’s anti-government agenda.
Imran emphasized that an effective response to the anti-military rhetoric was imperative. He noted that people sponsored by foreign NGOs were campaigning against the institutions on the social media.
He directed the spokespersons to take on the opposition, highlight their performance and give a full answer to the opposition ministers in the Senate session. Referring to JUI-Fazl chief Fazlur Rahman, the premier emphasized that his alleged corruption and how he built assets should be exposed before public besides the internal party differences.
He said the opposition should be responded emphatically. He further said opposition groups did not care about the country but their goals. “There is no pressure from any movement of the opposition on the government. The only goal of the opposition is NRO, which will not be achieved,” he made it clear.
Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi Monday said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s demand of resignation from the government was unjustified. He expressed these views in a meeting with senior journalists here on the issue of persons with disabilities.
The president said political system was being destabilised for past two years. The president said there was a need for national dialogue on electoral reform. He, however, made it abundantly clear that Prime Minister Imran Khan will decide when to hold dialogue and with whom.