LONDON: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that Pakistan has a free media and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has removed all censorship on state media.
He stated this while delivering a lecture at the University of Oxford on national, regional and international issues.
The lecture was organised by Oxford South Asian Society along with Oxford Pakistan Society. A large number of students from various academic disciplines attended the event.
The minister said that the purpose of his visit to Oxford was to develop linkages with student community and academic institutions as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In this regard, the minister promised that the government would offer internships to students from top universities of the world to various academic institutions in Pakistan.
The information minister also reiterated his government’s commitment to uproot corruption and regulate the remittances to curb money laundering.
He also gave a historical overview of important national and regional developments that have shaped the socio-economic and political contours of Pakistan during the last seven decades.
The minister said conflict in the region had negative impact on the social fabric and economy of Pakistan, yet Pakistan survived due to its inherent and unparalleled resilience.
The minister said that the present government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan was especially focusing on the revival of the national economy. He added that Pakistan needs to overcome its trade deficit for which the government was embarking upon industrialisation by setting up special industrial zones in the country.
Responding to a question, the minister debunked myths associated with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the Western media and termed it a great economic project for the prosperity of the entire region.
Fawad said that civil and military institutions were working in complete harmony due to which 70 years old paradigm of foreign policy was shifting, and the opening of Kartarpur Corridor was one of its manifestations.
The minister stated that understanding between civil and military institutions was imperative for the continuity of policies as “it happens in developed democracies”.
Responding to questions pertaining to India-Pakistan relations, the minister asserted that dialogue was the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute. He hoped that India would seriously consider Pakistan’s offer of dialogue to resolve issues after its impending elections.
“Pakistan wants peace within and peace outside. In this regard we are fighting extremism in our country and are willing to play our role in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan”, he remarked.
He also shared with the participants that multinational corporations from the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries have shown interest in investing billions of dollars in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy.
The minister said, “transparency and rule of law are Prime Minister Imran Khan’s priorities”.
Fawad also underlined the need for developing an international regulatory regime to end incitement to violence and hate speech on social media.
Regarding the rights of overseas Pakistanis, the minister said that the government was working on enhancing the participation of overseas Pakistanis in the economic and political affairs of the country.