ISLAMABAD: Opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday advised the government to stop victimising political opponents and focus on the improvement of the national economy, while taking part in the budget debate, reported The News.
PPP’s Shazia Marri expressed hope that the government would stop pointing a finger at the opposition and would provide relief to the masses. She also came down hard on the government for keeping Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in detention.
“It is necessary to mention that the government is also making Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman its target of victimisation,” Marri said. She said the PTI government, which made hollow claims and false promises, had disappointed the masses with its performance.
She asked the ministers to respond to the criticism of opposition members but should not point a finger at them. “You cannot provide relief to the masses while pointing a finger at the opposition members,” the PPP lawmaker said, adding that the PTI leaders had learnt nothing while sitting on the opposition benches for five years.
Demanding withdrawal of the 10th NFC award’s notification, Marri asked the federal government not to shift its failures to the provincial government.
PML-N MNA Kheal Das Kohistani said that MSR was being punished for upholding freedom of expression.
The lawmaker said that freedom of expression was under curbs under the current rulers and human rights are being violated. He added the government was first putting politicians in jails and now it has turned its guns towards the media.
Kohistani further said MSR was being punished for not sacking independent journalists like Ansar Abbasi, Saleem Safi, Arshid Waheed Chaudhry, Umar Cheema, Shahzeb Khanzada and others. He wondered who would tell the truth if leading media persons are sacked and newspapers censored.
PML-N’s Ardat Sharif said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been arrested on the inquiry stage of a 34-year-old case. He added the prime minister used to collect donations with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman during the floods and now he has been arrested.
Another PML-N MNA Hamid Hameed said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was behind bars for independent reporting. MNA Waheed Alam said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the worst attack on freedom of expression. He said the anchorpersons reporting on the incompetence of the government are on the government’s target list.
MNA Ayesha Rajab said the economy of the country was in tatters because the government was busy in suppressing the media. MNA Dr Nisar Cheema said media was in chains under the current government as the editor-in-chief of the largest media group is behind the bars.