LAHORE: Peaceful protest is the right of the Maulana (Fazlur Rehman) but the government is also duty-bound to protect people’s lives and properties and any attempt to cross that line will attract (administrative) reaction, says Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan.
Addressing the media at the State Guest House here on Saturday, she said the government was “closely watching” every move of the JUI chief and would respond effectively if need be.
“We will decide response when it comes to crossing the Rubicon but no destabilisation would be allowed.”
The special assistant questioned the logic of, what she called, spreading chaos: “It is certainly not altruistic reasons driving the JUI chief but frustration for being out of power. Any administrative or political chaos at this juncture (referring to the Kashmir crisis) hardly makes sense,” she said.
Continuing her jibe at political opponents, she said the Maulana and other parties were playing “cat and mouse” with each other. “Others are trying to use him to save their own skin and evade accountability process and the JUI chief is trying to enlist their support for spreading chaos. Those equating Maulana Fazl’s planned sit-in with that of Imran Khan’s dharna (in 2014) must realise that Khan exhausted all other options before taking the final leap. The JUI chief, however, is leap-frogging to sit-in. The PTI sit-in was also for “rule of law, autonomy of institutions and end of corruption,” not for saving the corrupt or creating chaos, she said.
The JUI chief, she said, was better known for using politics and religious card for personal gains, and the government, especially Prime Minister Imran Khan, knew it very well. He is at it again. Young children from seminaries would be used for political purposes, which is unfortunate, she said.
“Instead of backing the Kashmiris’ cause in the hour of need, the Opposition is trying to stoke chaos. Those who first used name of religion to win power and failed are now trying to use the same for saving the corrupt; they failed in first attempt and were bound to fail in the second one as well,” she claimed.
Dispelling the impression of change in her ministerial slot, she said though it was constitutional prerogative of the captain to select and assign role to his players, she was not being changed. She also said Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, was not fired as a section of the media is claiming. “Her contract had expired and the replacement was due,” she said.
Counting other successes of her government, she said economy was stabilising now and the corrective measures were now yielding results. The revolutionary steps in the agriculture sector are now also proving good for the sector.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is leaving for China tomorrow (Monday), where he would not only be taking up Kashmir but economic issues as well, she said.
After the press conference, she also cut the cake to celebrate the birthday of the prime minister.