–No one can be allowed to humiliate federal ministers, says Fawad while quoting PM
–Infighting escalates as Fawad refuses to apologise to Sanjrani after being barred from Senate
–Info minister says PM Khan to brief nation regarding PTI’s 100-day plan on Nov 29
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government made clear its concerns over the conduct of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani following the war of words in the upper house on Wednesday between Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and leaders of opposition parties.
Fawad, while talking to reporters on Thursday, said the government may have to rethink if Sanjrani is unable to bring a balanced control in the Senate, refusing to apologise to the Senate head after being barred from attending the Senate session.
“If Senate chairmanship fails to bring balance in the house then the government may also have to think,” he said, claiming that he was voted by the country’s people while Sanjrani was not elected into his position.
He stated, “Prime Minister Imran Khan has said nobody had the right to humiliate any minister.”
He said that Defence Minister Pervez Khattak was tasked to look into the issue and present his report. Fawad questioned how the house can be run without ministers. He said the ministers have a vital role in house proceedings, adding that they will not be able to perform their duties if the attitude of the chairman did not change.
Fawad said that the cabinet was also not satisfied with Sanjrani’s ruling to bar him from the house until he apologises. “The entire cabinet expressed regret over this decision [by the Senate chairman].”
The info minister was of the view that he was not bound to apologise despite the Senate chairman’s directions when the latter turned Fawad’s mic off and warned him against using “unparliamentary remarks” while he quarrelled with PkMAP Senator Usman Khan Kakkar.
“Should we apologise for asking where the billions of rupees of the poor people of Pakistan went? Should we apologise if we ask how the money of the people of Pakistan is spent?” remarked Fawad.
He said that there was no need to apologise after the language used by PML-N leader Mushahidullah Khan against him and the prime minister. “We are told to apologise when we speak about corruption or the billions of rupees [robbed from] the poor people of Pakistan,” he said.
Meanwhile, the info minister tweeted a cartoon which depicted him while entering the parliament. It showed how all the leaders of opposition parties were running away as he is coming to brief on the behalf of the government.
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 15, 2018
KHATTAK TASKED TO CLEAR MISUNDERSTANDINGS:
Khattak met Sanjrani on Thursday to resolve the issue between the cabinet and Senate leaders.
A delegation of the PTI leaders, including Leader of the House Shibli Faraz, Science and Technology Minister Azam Swati and Faisal Javed, met Sanjrani and conveyed that they hope affairs of the house will be run with mutual understanding, according to reports.
During the meeting, Sanjrani reportedly said that PM Khan boosted the dignity of the Senate by sending Khattak in time. He appreciated the premier’s role to ensure the supremacy of the parliament.
President Dr Arif Alvi, in an interview with private news channel, said he often advises Fawad as an elder brother. He added that the PTI’s leadership should focus on strengthening their government, expressing concerns on the inability of government and opposition to run the affairs of the parliament amicably.
The president said that due to the cases of corruption, it was difficult for the government and opposition to cooperate with one another.
PM TO BRIEF ON 100-DAY PLAN:
Fawad said Prime Minister Imran Khan will inform the nation on November 29 about the PTI’s first 100-day in government which was part of its election manifesto.
“No other government has even gotten close to what we [PTI government] achieved in our first 100 days,” Fawad told reporters.
Speaking about the martyrdom of police superintendent Tahir Khan Dawar in Afghanistan after his disappearance from Islamabad, Fawad said PM Khan and the cabinet expressed serious concern over the matter.
“SP Tahir Dawar was the son of Pakistan. The federal cabinet has expressed deep concern over this whole matter. The prime minister has sought a detailed report from concerned authorities over this tragedy,” he said.
The information minister also raised the issue of the safe city cameras installed in the federal capital.
“They installed 1,600 cameras for Safe City. 600 of them are not functional, while [image quality of] 800 cannot help identify faces or number plates,” he said, pointing a finger at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
“Billions of rupees were spent on the installation of these cameras,” he said.
Speaking about the long-running dispute between the government and opposition parties over the appointment of the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the info minister said the government had accepted several demands and that the opposition should reciprocate now.
“The opposition’s demands are immoral,” he said, speaking about the opposition’s wishes of PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif heading the committee.
“All we are asking for is that when our first project comes, you audit it,” he said, further asking: “How will the nation accept Shehbaz Sharif auditing Nawaz Sharifs projects?”
Fawad said the prime minister was very concerned over the issue of Pakistani prisoners in other countries, and said it was the Government of Pakistan’s responsibility to provide them legal assistance and monetary compensation.
He said the federal government was also “very committed on the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui,” a Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three jailed in the US for almost a decade. “We will try our best to bring her back,” he said.