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December 8, 2018

State can’t let individuals issue fatwas: Fawad

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December 8, 2018

LONDON: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry says the state of Pakistan can’t function if individuals are allowed to issue fatwas and use religion to advance their agendas. He was addressing the Pakistani media at the Pakistan High Commission here at the conclusion of his three-day visit.

He said the leaders of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had challenged the state writ by issuing death calls for the serving officials of Pakistan government. He said no country could allow anarchy and incitement of violence no matter what the issue. He said Britain was an example where citizens enjoyed freedom of expression and freedom to criticise but nobody was allowed to issue fatwas. Fawad said 18 international NGOs – mainly from Britain, Europe and America – had been banned from operating in Pakistan for violating rules.

The minister said he had met the representatives of these NGOs last week in Islamabad and told them that the action against their presence was started by the previous government and the criteria was laid down categorically for them to fulfil legal requirements which they failed.

Fawad said Pakistan wanted to forget about issues of the past and wanted to move forward with India by resolving all outstanding issues.

Answering a question about the Senate chairman’s demand that he should apologise for his ‘rowdy’ behaviour in parliament, the minister called on him to issue a public apology to him and repeated that the Senate chairman was wrong in his words and actions.

Fawad named the opposition leaders from the PML-N, PPP and other parties and said they should be held accountable and advocated their locking up summarily. When told that some people sitting in the current PTI government were part of the previous governments and allies of the current opposition, the minister claimed that the current ruling elements didn’t have “decision-making powers” in the past.

Fawad said economy was performing well under the PTI government and Imran Khan’s team had done a great job in 100 days. He claimed that billions of dollars’ worth of investment was coming to Pakistan and its economic worries were being dealt with.

He said dual nationals should be allowed to contest elections and mentioned that overseas Pakistanis contributed greatly towards development of Pakistan. He said the PTI government planned to initiate a state of the art media university where students will be trained on modern media lines to equip them. Speaking about the media related issues, Fawad said Pakistan had Rs30,000 crore debt and the current government was not in a position to give advertisement to the media.

He called on the media houses to restructure their media models and reform or else face financial difficulties. He said half of the amount had been paid to the media houses and he stood by his statement.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) Friday said the minister’s statement that half of media industry dues had been paid was untrue.

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