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January 14, 2019

No one can stop me from going to Sindh: Fawad

Top Story

January 14, 2019

Ag Agencies

PM, Fawad on Sindh mission again

LAHORE: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Sunday said no one can stop him from visiting Sindh as political temperature in the province is likely to shoot up again with planned visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry amid ongoing corruption probe against the top PPP leadership.

Imran Khan will embark upon a day-long trip to Sindh on January 25 after his information minister’s likely visit on January 15 and 16. The premier will review matters pertaining to the PTI besides meeting ‘like-minded’ political leaders in Sindh. He is all set to pay a visit to Ghotki district on the invitation of Ali Gohar Khan Mahar of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).

A week before the prime minister’s visit, Fawad Chaudhry will hold meetings with key political figures of the province.

Last month, the information minister had ‘postponed’ his planned visit to Sindh after a Supreme Court hearing went against the PTI government’s stance on ongoing investigations of fake bank accounts case.

The apex court had directed the federal cabinet to reconsider the list of 172 individuals -- named in the JIT report -- who were placed on the ECL. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had expressed displeasure over the government’s initiative.

Fawad Chaudhry was expected to meet opposition leaders Pir Pagara, Liaquat Jatoi, Zulfiqar Mirza, Fehmida Mirza and Ayaz Palejo among others during his scheduled visit to Karachi, Badin, Sukkur and Larkana during his ‘postponed’ visit last month.

Fawad said while talking to reporters at Alhamra Arts Council here, Fawad Chaudhry said the political careers of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have come to an end as one from the duo is in jail while the other will go there soon.

He said that Karachi was a part of Pakistan and nobody could stop him from visiting the city as he was to perform some official business there. He said there was also no bar on meeting political friends in the mega city.

While criticising the former prime minister, Fawad Chaudhry said that Nawaz’s trial was strange as he went to London during it as well and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif is in prison on paper but is living in his home. He further said that these people have made National Accountability Bureau (NAB) bend to their will.

In relation to the recent clamp down on politicians and others in money laundering case, Fawad Chaudhry had reiterated earlier that the government is sticking to the demand of Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah’s resignation.

The information minister said that the NAB will investigate regarding Murad Ali Shah. He Pakistan had unfortunately been ruled by a pack of people in the past who were not interested in improving its image. “Those rulers robbed the national wealth and filled their coffers,” he alleged. Fawad said the vision of the prime minister to make the country like that of the State of Madina was not political but social one. “He wanted to make Pakistan a state which was tolerant, where freedom of speech was encouraged and justice to all and sundry was ensured,” Fawad said.

To a question, the minister said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was not facing any political challenge. He said the parties led by Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari had met their fate due to bad governance in their respective governments during the past 10 years.

The minister said Nawaz Sharif was offered a novel trial. He said Nawaz was allowed to proceed to England during the trial while his lawyer was allowed to cross-examine the witnesses for 22 days.

"This kind of treatment has never been meted to anyone in the past. Persons like Wali Khan and Faiz Ahmed Faiz were trialled in Attock Fort and closed in jail cells, but Nawaz Sharif was dealt with in a different way," he said. Similarly, he said, Shahbaz Sharif was a prisoner on paper, but he lived at a home and whenever he wanted he could order the prosecutors and NAB officials as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to appear before him.

The minister said that the government would present finance bill on January 23, which would strengthen the economy as it would be a real budget.

To another query, he said Imran Khan would come up to the people's expectations. "Just give the PTI government two to three years and you will hail it for the epoch-making reforms undertaken by it," he said.

Fawad made it clear that the government would not accept any pressure from the opposition and won’t be blackmailed. He said the prime minister did not believe in NROs.

The minister said the PTI government would revive all festivals and added that there was no debate that festivals like Basant would take place or not. These would certainly take place, but the debate was how to make these festivals safe for everyone, he added.

Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s upcoming visit to Pakistan would strengthen ties between the two countries. He expressed these views in a telephonic conversation with his Saudi counterpart Turki Al-Shabanah.

Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are brother countries with their ties based on mutual respect, cooperation and trust. New vistas of cooperation will open up between the countries in diverse fields including media, the minister added. The crown prince of the kingdom is expected to visit Pakistan in February.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while reacting to Fawad Chaudhry’s statement has warned those planning to disrupt smooth running of democratic affairs in the province with ‘iron fist’.

Speaking to the media in Sukkur, Murad Ali Shah said no one will be allowed to steal the mandate of the elected government in Sindh.

Commenting over the issue of ECL, he said he was not planning any foreign trip anytime soon. However, he said, if he had to depart for Haj or on a pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq then no one will be able to stop him from doing so. He said no ban has been imposed on the visit of Fawad Chaudhry, adding that those who were coming to Sindh stopped themselves.

To a question, he said the point of view of PPP on military courts has been explained already.

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