SARGODHA: Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman has said the government believes in direct public contacts and would leave no stone unturned in resolution of their problems. “People had given a heavy mandate to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and other democratic forces in last year’s elections and I assure on behalf of government that it would come up to their expectations and address their grievances,” Sherry Rehman told journalists upon her arrival at the city.
The Minister said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are committed to resolve problems of masses and have given approval to launch Rs. 45 billion Benazir Income Support Programme to facilitate poor segment of the society.
The Minister said Pakistan was facing many serious challenges as in these circumstances, responsible politics as well as unity among all democratic forces is required. The democratic forces and parliament were being strengthened, she added. She said in view of regional situation, the elected government of PPP and its allies was taking decisions on all vital issues keeping mind the larger national interests.
Answering a question regarding load-shedding, the Minister said numerous measures are being adopted in this regard and assured the load-shedding problem would be resolved by end of this year. On the issue of retrenchment in media organizations, Sherry Rehman said the government wanted to provide employment opportunities in all sectors under its workers friendly policies and had lifted the ban on recruitment.
On the statements of PML (N) Nawaz Sharif, she said, “We do not want any confrontation between democratic forces rather we believe in unity and harmony. When asked about broadcast of unauthorized FM Radio stations in Swat, she said the government has arranged some jammers to halt their illegal services.
Addressing another function held to administer oath from newly elected office bearers of Electronic Press Club Sargodha at Jinnah Hall, she said the electronic media has witnessed a massive growth as the number of channels has now crossed above 50 mark. The Minister said the government was determined to lead all endeavors for the promotion of independent media in the country.
Signifying the importance which the government attaches to the freedom of expression and access to information, the Minister said Pakistan Peoples Party have years long struggled to get this objective achieved. “We wish to build trust between institutions and one of the most important steps in this regard was the revocation of all anti-media laws and reiteration of our media freedom commitment through policy steps,” the Minister said.
Sherry Rehman said media has now access in every nook and corner of the country rather it is the media through which our voice and message is reached the masses. “Pakistani nation has paid a heavy price for the restoration of democracy. Both the government and media need to counter such elements that were creating hurdles in the course of development and prosperity.
She announced Rs. 500,000 grant from the Federal Government for the Electronic Media Club, Sargodha. Earlier, in his welcome address the President of newly-elected office- bearers of EMC, Sargodha Nadeem Khan asked the minister for provision land to build its office and construction of residential houses for the members.
In her day long visit to the city, the Minister also held an Open Katchery along with Minister of State for Interior Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi. On the occasion, she said PPP is a pro-worker party and its government has abolished anti-worker laws and lifted ban of trade unions.
Amid slogans of “Jiay Bhutto and Zinda Hai BB Zinda Hai,” the Minister announced that the government was aware of the problems being faced by the party workers and it would fulfill all promises made by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto with the poor masses. Sherry said the Prime Minister has directed the senior PPP leaders to hold such open Katcheries in all districts of the country to learn about the common man’s problems.
“The PPP was thankful to the people of Sargodha who voted the PPP candidates in February 18 elections. The party workers supported the leadership in the hard times and it was their right to get jobs now and employment was right of every Pakistani citizen,” the Minister said. Sherry Rehman said she would take action on all applications presented to her during the Open Katchery as early as possible.-SANA