Government never issued Press advice: Qureshi
RAWALPINDI- The Indian secret services are behind recent terrorism in the country, said Director-General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Press Secretary to the Chief Executive Major General Rashid Qureshi.
He was addressing a seminar on Media War and role of Pakistan Television (PTV) organized by the Mass Communications Department of Barani University.
He said situation in Karachi is under Control. He dispelled the impression of getting power of separatist forces. Government always tried to protect lives and property of the masses but despite complete control on the situation. Some incidents of terrorism took place to disrupt law and order situation, he said.
Qureshi said that the government is aware of the people who have become stooges in the hands of hidden forces who want to create terror in Karachi but they would not succeed in their nefarious designs.
He asked the media to play its role vigorously to thwart Indian propaganda and media war. He said RAW-sponsored ZEE television was creating hatred among Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Sindhi, Balochi and Punjabi people of the country.
ISPR chief said that the government believes in freedom of press it is fourth pillar of society. We have accorded complete freedom to press that is why the government neither issued press advice nor acted against the freedom of press from October 12, 1999 until now”.
He said that government wants media to keep people fully informed with the facts and figures. The government hails the positive criticism, he said.
Qureshi said that the government has accorded freedom to official media radio and television and electronic media will also be treated likewise within the next six months. He said more radio and television channels would be allowed to function in the private sector. Qureshi said that government is doing well as we are working for the progress and development of the neglected people of the country.
He said that the government would fully abide by the Supreme Court verdict to restore democracy in the country after reforming the political institutions. He assured that the government would hold general elections within the stipulated time frame by October 2002, positively.
He hailed the masses for enthusiastically taking part in the local bodies’ elections. He said that voter’s turnout was 56 percent for third phase of local bodies’ elections.
He said that the government is heading the country towards genuine democracy. Qureshi declared that power would be transferred peacefully following the general elections in October 2000.
General Rashid Qureshi said that foreign media was spreading despondency. Quoting an example in this regard, he said that a poor man had died by snakebite in June last year near Bahawalpur. It was projected through a photograph by a foreign news agency that he died of drought.
When facts were provided to the agency, the foreign agency apologized to us. He said the country’s electronic media projected both the contradiction and apology properly, but the print media published it on inner pages.
General Qureshi maintained that government believed in the freedom of both the prints and electronic media, as dignified fourth pillar of the state.
He said the government has always welcomed the investigative and critical press reports on its functioning.
The government had a firm stand that there should be openness both in the electronic and print media and that was why private TV and radio stations were being launched.
Quoting yet another example of irresponsible reporting, he said that a Christian died in Nowshera due to wrong treatment by a Sooth Sayer (Neem Hakeem), but the Press reported that minority was being victimized in the country.
General Rashid added that Pakistan was sustaining the burden of 20 million Afghan refugees for the last two decades, while the United Nations was providing only $2 million per year, which comes to one dollar a refugee per year. The rest of the amount on the well being of these refugees was being provided by the government of Pakistan.
Source: The Nation