NRO is the apple of discord between govt, opp: Fawad

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Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry Saturday said the unwarranted demand of an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) was the apple of discord between the government and the two main opposition parties.

Speaking at a ceremony held here to commemorate the first death anniversary of renowned journalist Munno Bhai, he said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had no personal differences with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), but the demand for ‘NRO’ by very sane lawmakers from both the parties for their leaders had stalled their relationship. “How could the PTI government breach its trust of the masses by not fulfilling its commitment of curbing corruption in the country,” he asked. “The PPP and the PML-N were popular political parties but such concessions to conceal corruption could not be allowed, he added.

The minister said there was no crisis-like situation in the country at present. The current year, he said, is the year of exports and the PTI government will observe it as the year of economic resurgence. The year ahead would be marked by progress and prosperity as the largest oil refinery in the country’s history was being set up in Gwadar, he added.

Fawad said some changes were being introduced to the CPEC projects. The PTI’s vision would reflect in the CPEC initiatives in the year 2019, he added.

On the issue of resignation of a PML-Q minister from Punjab cabinet, the minister said the PML-Q was a distinct political party like the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and others and its members had every right to do politics in their constituencies. Some of the grievances of PML-Q which carry weight will be resolved through due consultations, he said. “The country is passing through good times and people do not part ways in good times,” he said, and added that PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had a meeting with the prime minister and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

To a question, the information minister said the military courts were set up under the National Action Plan. The military courts do not exist in ideal conditions, and “we must keep in view the ground realities and the presence of terrorism in the country, which made their existence necessary,” he said, and added that the government will try to evolve consensus on the issue in the parliament. The PPP and the PML-N were major political parties and they should take decisions of national importance rising above party interests, he added.

About Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, he said he remained finance minister of the province for more than a decade and was signatory to many controversial decisions. “Supreme Court ordered for shifting of major investigations out of Sindh for such reasons. Democracy does not mean concealing crimes of others, rather than holding them accountable,” he added.

About the dam fund, Fawad said that criticism of the Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s Mohmand and Bhasha Dams Fund was unwarranted. The title of the dams fund might be revised in consultation with Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

The government, he said, plans to collect Rs 30 billion in a year in the dam fund. An amount of Rs 9 billion has been collected in the quarter of a year and the rest will be achieved as per planning, he hoped.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar was chief guest on the occasion, while renowned journalists, including IA Rahman and Hussain Naqi, former information minister Pervaiz Rashid and dramatist Asghar Nadeem Sayed attended the seminar.

Published in Today’s Muslim, January 20th 2019.