LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the government does not intend to impose any restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
He was talking to a delegation of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), which called on him, here on Sunday. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Secretary Information Shahira Shahid, Principal Information Officer Mubashir Hassan and others.
The delegation included CPNE President Kazim Khan, Senior Vice President Ayaz Khan, Punjab Vice President Irshad Ahmed Arif, Secretary General Amir Mahmood and other members.
The PM promised that under all laws, including the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 ordinance, every possible protection would be given to journalists from any unjustified actions. The PM said the task of reviewing the PECA ordinance has already been entrusted to the law ministry.
PM Shehbaz Sharif appreciated the positive role of CPNE as an institution in freedom of press, survival of democracy and evolution of democratic institutions. He said the government was keen to work constructively with other representative bodies of journalists, including CPNE, to protect the rights of journalists and promote responsible journalism in the country.
The government was taking all possible steps to ensure production of electricity and its transmission and supply so that the sufferings of people could be alleviated. PM Shehbaz Ssaid that the previous government doubled the debt burden on the nation in four years, which had made the life of the poor more difficult. “The government is working hard to ensure that the basic necessities of life, flour, treatment and medicines are available at affordable rates,” he said adding institutions like PKLI for free treatment of the poor and deserving classes had been neglected in the previous government and no special arrangements were made for free treatment of the deserving classes.
The PM said the nation needed solidarity at this time so that extraordinary economic issues could be resolved for welfare of people. “The government is currently working on all other development projects in the country, including CPEC and Rekodiq,” he added.
The government wanted to have mutual respect and mutual benefit with all countries, including brotherly countries, in foreign affairs. PM Shehbaz Sharif reiterated his commitment that electoral reforms were essential for transparent elections in the country.
Separately, PM Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated the Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital in Lahore on Sunday. He stressed that while executing public welfare projects including hospitals to serve masses, national interests should be given priority. The six-storey, 350-bed hospital was equipped with state-of-the-art treatment facilities.
While praising owners of the Trust, the PM expressed the hope that the hospital would serve the ailing humanity with world-class treatment facilities.
The PM said the PMLN government had set up PKLI hospital in Lahore to serve masses with latest treatment facilities and it wanted the hospital to function like John Hopkins health facility. He said hepatitis filter centres had been set up across Punjab province under the patronage of PKLI and patients from all-over the country would be provided treatment facility there.
He regretted that dirty politics were played during the last government. The PMLN government was trying to set things right. He said what happened during the last four years was a painful story, adding that the national wealth belonged to the people.
The PM, referring to the economic constraints, said the government was hardly meeting its expenses. He said Rescue-1122 was an initiative of Pervaiz Elahi, but the PMLN had expanded it throughout the province.
Earlier, Chairman Trust Shehzad Saleem gave an overview of the project. The PM also visited different sections of the hospital.
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