Pak-India cricket diplomacy can open new avenues: Firdous


KARACHI – Cricket diplomacy can open new avenues of composite dialogue between Pakistan and India, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday.
“A peaceful solution to disputed matters between the two countries is not only the need of Pakistan, but of the entire region,” she said while addressing a press conference at a hotel. The federal minister said that trade ties also would also strengthen between Pakistan and India and help them engage in composite dialogue.
She said that there was no set agenda as far as the prime minister’s visit to India was concerned as he and his Indian counterpart would simply enjoy cricket. “It’s up to the Indian leadership how it further shapes up the programme,” she added. Replying to a question, Dr Awan said that maintaining law and order is a provincial matter and political parties have to resolve this issue with collective efforts.
“The PPP and MQM are coalition partners and they have work together for restoring law and order in Karachi,” she added. She said that the federal government will issue funds to the Sindh government for the repair of flood-protective bunds, adding that if the issuance of funds is delayed, she will take up the issue with the federal government.
“The federal government is monitoring the ongoing repair work. If the flood commission’s decision is delayed and funds are not released to the Sindh government, I will talk to the federal government,” she added. The federal minister said that the PPP has always come to power through votes and not through the backdoor channel.
Replying to a question, she said that a section of the media has twisted President Asif Ali Zardari’s statement which he made at a Baitul Maal function where she was also present. “The president had actually said that the PPP government will remain in power as long as it enjoys the mandate and support of the people of Pakistan,” she clarified.
She quoted President Zardari as saying that if the people reject the PPP in the forthcoming elections, he will lead the opposition in the assemblies. She said that the PPP government has enough strength to have the financial bill passed by the national assembly. To a query, the federal minister said that the government will ensure that a fair census is held in Sindh without any fear.