The PML-N’s spokesperson, in a statement issued on Friday via Twitter, strongly condemned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks from a day ago in which he said there was a “presence of mafia” in newspapers.
On Thursday, while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Jalalpur Canal project in Pind Dadan Khan town of Jhelum, PM Imran said 2020 would be the year of economic stability in Pakistan and would prove to be a tough one for mafias.
Elaborating further, he said mafias were present in the Federal Board of Revenue and other government institutions, in politics and in newspapers. He said newspapers carried bad news [against the government] everyday.
“Those journalists who had benefited from the corrupt system in the past were now writing against his administration,” he said.
Responding to the premier’s remarks from a day ago, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb in a strongly-worded statement shared on Twitter, strongly criticised the prime minister for “calling the media a mafia”.
“An incompetent, incapable and selected prime minister is saying that there is a mafia in the media. It is shameful, regrettable and deplorable,” she said.
Aurangzeb said a “person involved in money laundering, imprisoning his opponents in death-row cells, closing down the parliament, and risking the livelihoods and businesses of citizens” was referring to the media as a mafia.
She further accused the prime minister of destroying the economy and handing over the country to the International Monetary Fund while joining hands with thieves and robbers.
She also held the premier responsible for taking “talk shows off air, influencing editorials and stealing ballots of the people”.
Awan hits back at PML-N
Taking exception to the PML-N statement, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan took to Twitter, reminding the PML-N’s spokesperson that “the mafia’s government had initiated the lifafa culture [yellow journalism]” in the country.
Referring to a previous government of the PML-N, Awan said “people still remember the role of Saifur Rehman who had a hobby of lodging fake cases against newspapers and his political opponents”.
She went on to say that [during the tenure of the PML-N,] newspapers’ offices were attacked and the media was subjected to “blackmailing”.
The government’s chief spokesperson said “mafia, thieves and robbers get annoyed when institutions follow the law,” adding that the prime minister’s war against the mafia will continue.
“To recover the nation’s wealth from thieves and robbers is a worship and the government will not shy away from this good cause”.