ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Saturday said that Imran Khan’s era was the darkest period for media.
Addressing a news conference, the minister alleged Imran Khan is a habitual liar and a failed person, he only knows how to lie. She pointed out that Imran Khan is saying that the media was the most independent in his time, there was no restriction and censorship on the media, whereas the Reporters Without Borders reports said that during Imran Khan’s time, media agencies were banned, channels were closed, there were threats to the lives of reporters and Imran Khan threatened journalists. “If any news was published against him, the journalist would not be left alive,” she said.
Marriyum said the report of Reporters Without Borders is Imran Khan’s original work sheet while Human Rights Watch’s August 2019 report said that during Imran Khan’s time, TV channels’ programmes were stopped, programmes of Geo News, Capital TV and other channels were stopped and if someone did not stop channel programmes, its reporters and staff were attacked. She pointed out that this report is on the internet.
She added, according to a report issued in 2021, 10 journalists were killed and several arrested during Imran Khan’s time and four years of censorship was done in the country by giving death threats to journalists through censorship and journalists who did not listen were jailed.
The minister recalled how during Imran Khan’s time, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was detained by NAB and a message was sent to the rest of the channels that they would also face the same fate. Imran did not like Hamid Mir, so he was taken off air, Absar Alam was shot in the stomach near his house, Matiullah Jan was kidnapped from outside his daughter’s school, Asad Toor’s arms were broken, female journalists were attacked and campaigns were launched against them on social media.
“There was a social media campaign about Gharida Farooqi and Mohsin Baig was hurt when he raised his voice on corruption. First, Talat Hussain fell prey to Imran Khan’s dictatorial thinking and he ran social media campaigns against professional journalists like Asma Shirazi, Gharida Farooqi and Amber Shamsi.” The minister remarked, “I salute journalists who stood firm during Imran Khan’s bitter tenure”.
She said Imran Khan put his political opponents in death cells as soon as he came out of the government, he now says he is a follower of freedom of expression and that he is not afraid. In reality, Imran Khan is so cowardly that he closed the voice of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on TV screen. When Shehbaz Sharif used to come to the court, Imran Khan would order the administration to speak so loudly on the loudspeaker that no one can hear Shehbaz Sharif’s voice.
The minister said while Imran Khan was afraid of fake news, his entire politics was fake. When it came to fake news, he would have brought a law on fake news but he tried to bring a law to suppress media freedom instead, which we reversed.
She continued that Imran Khan was in the government for four years, he put off air his political opponents from the TV screen while he paralysed all state institutions, made the Prime Minister’s House a den of kidnappers and fulfilled his political ambitions.
Marriyum said Imran Khan made only allegations in his four years but could not prove one charge, adding that no one stole from the women of the house like Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi stole through her front-woman Farah Gogi and Imran Khan lectures in such a way that he is very pious but he abuses his political opponents whenever he opens his mouth.
The minister said that Imran Khan kept requesting the Chief Election Commissioner for a backdoor meeting. When the one-on-one meeting could not be held, Imran Khan attacked the Election Commission. “Today, they are attacking the Election Commission because the foreign funding case judgment has been reserved. Imran Khan also knows that he has lost 20 seats in Punjab and today he knows that there is a clean and transparent election in the country. Now there is no Farah Gogi and Buzdar in Punjab who can help him contest elections with corruption and today he has no power to pick up the Election Commission staff and ballot boxes.”
She claimed the PTI bought identity cards and votes by paying money. “Imran Khan is habitual of election theft and fraud while he sent the youth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab for rioting and bullying. He wanted to fight the brothers, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
Marriyum claimed PTI Chairman Imran Khan had failed and had been rejected and said that his language and mind were not under his control. She asserted that Imran robbed people through his ‘family members’ and turned Bani Gala into money gala. Referring to Imran’s speech earlier in the day here, the minister said that he had acknowledged his defeat in his speech today.
She pointed out that the way Imran Khan was talking suggested that his language and mind were not under his control. It happens when a man is nervous, defeated, rejected and failed. “Imran knows that these things are in him that he has been rejected and had failed and the people of Punjab have declared a war on unemployment, inflation and economic destruction given by him,” she noted.
The PTI chairman, she continued, had given nothing but pain to the people of the country in four years and he has left no stone unturned to make the country another Sri Lanka.
On the by-election in Punjab, the minister said the by-election would be a victory for the party which always pulled Pakistan out of economic crises and led to economic stability, adding PMLN has taken steps to bring the people out of the storm of inflation and reduce inflation. PMLN is the party, she emphasised, that can bring the country out of darkness and spread lights and that PMLN that rids the country of the menace of terrorism, breaks the backs of terrorists and restores peace in the country.
“PML-N is the party that has eliminated darkness, corrected the economy, gave CPEC in the region while Imran Khan knows that he has not added one MW of electricity in his four years and he could not build even one kilometer of road while he made false promises of one crore jobs and five million houses to the people. He did not even build a university and hospital in his time. That is why he does not even mention any one work in any of his speeches today,” she contended.
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