PML-N to block anti-media law
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-N has vowed to block in the Parliament anti-media measures the government is reportedly planning to introduce.
“We didn’t allow the PPP government to enact the (toothless) accountability law and we won’t allow it to bring in any law for imposing restrictions on the media,” said PML-N central leader Muhammad Mehdi while speaking at his debut press conference as media coordinator here on Monday.
“We’re torch-bearers of independent judiciary and independent media. We’ll stand by the media like we stood by the judiciary
in difficult times.”
The PML-N has been demanding of the government to summon an all-party conference (APC) on Balochistan. But, it declined to attend when the prime minister at last announced convening it recently.
Asked if the party was dragging back its feet on a sensitive issue because it did not want the PPP-led government to take credit for resolving it, he said his party would not have supported the government in 20th Amendment had it wished to deprive the PPP of the achievement of passing all amendments unanimously.
“The government has over-delayed the APC and in the process has discredited itself so much that even Baloch nationalists are not ready to join the show,” said Mr Mehdi, who had earlier served the PML-N as foreign affairs coordinator.
Recalling that the Baloch leaders like Akhter Mengal now annoyed with Islamabad had been serving the federation as Balochistan chief minister, he claimed that Baloch nationalists still had faith in the PML-N leadership and were ready to attend an APC to be summoned by Nawaz Sharif. He would not say as to why the party was not going for the step.
To resolve the Balochistan issue, he suggested going beyond the APC and reiterated the suggestion of Mr Sharif that all the political leadership should sit together and depart only after preparing a 20-year unanimous plan (Charter of Pakistan) for the development of the country in all respects.
Replying to a query about the working of the Punjab government, he said no one could point out any scandal about cabinet members. He said the PML-N government raised education budget by 70 per cent and allocated around Rs10 billion for awarding scholarships to the needy students.
He said 400 students from Balochistan over and above the province’s constitutional quota in Punjab were also accommodated in various educational institutions besides awarding them scholarships.
He denied that the PML-N had entered into any deal with the PPP for seat-to-seat adjustment in the next polls.
He told a questioner that the PPP was a political reality and that his party would contest it in the political field.