–‘All institutions convey full support to us’
–Info minister sees no harm in dollar hike
LONDON: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said that the civilian and military leadership were brought on the same page “after a long time” by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, explaining that the operation against Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was started under a joint strategy of all institutions.
Speaking at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the info minister stated that the armed forces, government and the people of Pakistan were on the same page for the first time. “They are all supporting the strategic initiatives taken by the PTI government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.
Fawad claimed that PM Khan’s rise and PTI’s emergence as the third party showed that the middle classes were happy with the country’s progress and the way all institutions acted together against the “militant” TLP showed a unique proposition of institutions coming together against the threat of militancy.
“All institutions convey full support to us,” he said.
Responding to a question, Fawad stressed the need to change the whole foreign policy paradigm. He said that for the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the PTI government was able to gain “full cooperation from Pakistan Army”.
He added: “It is due to this cooperation that we have been able to take such a big decision.”
The minister said that extremism was not just confined to Pakistan as other countries including Germany, France and UK were also facing the same issue. He claimed that some groups from the UK sent money to the militant groups in Pakistan.
Fawad said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was being seen in the West with the lense of ‘Af-Pak’. “We are a modern country. Our culture is one of the richest in the world. We are one of the most modern Muslim countries; no other Muslim country can come close to us,” he said.
The minister said, “The primary slogan of Imran Khan remains transparency and good governance. That slogan became so popular that a third party was born in a country where the two-party system was entrenched but the PTI defeated the two powerful parties. Our main accomplishment will be our performance while rest of the two parties are not in the game anymore. We will bring everyone under the law as most powerful people have been sent behind the bar.”
‘NO HARM IN DOLLAR HIKE’:
Fawad also said that the fluctuation in dollar’s rate does not make a difference.
While speaking to the media in the British capital, the minister said that “It does not matter if the dollar price increases. The nation wants chickens who ate golden eggs to be held accountable”.
Referring to former president Asif Ali Zardari and ousted premier they were lecturing the government on the economy. Nawaz Sharif, Fawad said that these leaders “ate golden eggs” and now
“Nawaz Sharif and Zardari have fought their last elections and now there is nothing left for them,” the minister added.
Lately, in a historic surge on November 30, the value of the dollar shot up by Rs 8 in the interbank market resulting the dollar rate to reach up to Rs 142 against Rs 134 trading on November 29.
The current account deficit was said to be the reason behind the fresh surge. However, the rupee recovered against the dollar in the open market on December 3 as the greenback fell by Rs 3 to Rs 136.
Commenting on the latest drop, it has been reported that “the appreciation of rupee is a temporary phenomenon, and it could depreciate again in view of foreign loan payments the government was about to undertake”.
PEACE WITH INDIA:
The minister said they believed that India and Pakistan need to come close to fight poverty and bring stability to South Asia, which is “only possible through a dialogue”. He hoped that the Indian government will revisit its approach once elections are over across the border.
He also said that it was in India’s interest to develop friendship with Pakistan.
Fawad, however, maintained that Kashmir remained the core issue and Pakistan would not budge from its position. He added that Pakistan wants a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute with India, recalling that soon after coming into power, PM Khan offered India dialogue to resolve the dispute peacefully.
He claimed that Imran Khan was “the best bet to achieve peace in Afghanistan because he understands Afghan culture and PTI rules in KP.”
Responding to another question, the minister claimed that Pakistan had the “freest” media in the world, adding that there were no curbs on media. The information minister claimed that not a single scandal was reported regarding PTI’s present government.
Linking the issue of missing persons with the war-like situation Pakistan has been facing, he said the number of victims had reduced.
“Imran Khan has spoken categorically on this issue,” Fawad stressed.
Speaking to Pakistani newsmen after the event, the minister accepted that bringing money from abroad would be “difficult.”
When asked if he could give a timeline as to when the money will be returned to Pakistan as promised by his government, he said it’s difficult to bring back the money that had left the country, adding that the PM’s advisor on accountability Shahzad Akbar was doing his best to carry out talks with different countries in this regard.
‘SELF-ACCOUNTABILITY CULTURE INTRODUCED’:
The info minister said the culture of self-accountability introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan was prevalent only in advanced democratic countries.
In a tweet over the resignation by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati, he said such democratic traditions are the face of “Naya Pakistan”.
He said Swati was the second minister who tendered resignation over routine investigations. In the past, even convicted persons remained glued to their posts, he remarked.