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April 21, 2019

Parliament can’t function without opposition: Awan

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April 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a conciliatory tone, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday said parliament and democracy could not function without the opposition.

Talking to the media persons after attending a meeting of the party spokespersons chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Banigala, Awan advised the opposition against holding parliament hostage.

She asked the opposition to come up with positive proposals for tackling issues confronting the masses and assured that the government would try to take the opposition along.

It was her first media chat after stepping into the shoes of Fawad Chaudhry.

She cautioned that the opposition should not take the government’s repeated reconciliation offers as its weakness.

Awan said the new finance and economic teams had been instructed to devise policies reflecting the prime minister's vision and priorities.

She explained that various ministries had been given targets to provide relief to the masses, especially during the holy month of Ramazan.

Replying to a question about former finance minister Asad Umar, Awan said it was a false impression that Asad was unhappy with the prime minister, adding that he was with the government and would soon be back to defend PM Imran Khan’s vision.

About absence of Fawad from the meeting, she said the former minister information had already informed the prime minister about his Lahore visit, and that the meeting was of spokespersons.

She said Fawad would be in the next meeting, as he was a member of the spokespersons committee.

She said Fawad’s absence did not mean he was unhappy with the change of his ministerial portfolio. He has been made Minister for Science and Technology.

On prime minister’s schedule, Dr Awan said he would visit Balochistan on Sunday to launch a housing scheme there and condole with the bereaved families of Hazarganji incident.

She said Minister for Power Umar Ayub Khan had been given the additional charge of Ministry of Petroleum.

About the decisions taken at the meeting, she said harmony was being created to bridge the disconnect between the people's expectations and the government's decisions, if there was any, and explained that this was the top priority of the premier.

The special assistant said prime minister would be paying an official visit to Iran on Sunday (today) and also proceed to China afterwards.

She said relations would be strengthened with the media and the government would present its point of view and listen to what they had to say. This way, there would be victory for both sides, she said.

Dr Awan said betterment of media persons was their priority. A source privy to the meeting said at one point the prime minister desired to have Asad Umar back in the cabinet and praised him, saying he was a good man. He also made it clear that no minister had been appointed on a permanent basis.

The source said the prime minister emphasised that there should be better links with the media and insisted that the monitoring of cabinet members would continue.

He expressed desire for such mechanism for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinets as well.

The premier also warned that any cabinet member not taking care of the masses would go home.

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