ISLAMABAD - Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has stressed the need for taking concrete measures to promote soft image of Pakistan around the world. She stated this while chairing a meeting of all allied departments of the ministry on Friday.

She directed all allied departments of the ministry, including Radio Pakistan, PTV, APP, Pakistan National Council of the Arts, and Lok Virsa to prepare effective programmes for the purpose which could help improve perception of the country abroad. She said softer and positive aspects of the Pakistani society and the national ethos were needed to be promoted and disseminated across the globe.

She said that the image of any country emanated from its culture, heritage and tourism, adding that Pakistan was a land of splendour comprising deserts, mountains, glaciers, sprawling meadows, lush green grasslands and sea. Marriyum said that each region of the country had its own peculiar characteristics.

The minister emphasised the need to showcase the multicultural mosaic of the Pakistani society and its geographical diversity at the international forums to present true picture of Pakistan to the international fraternity.

She said that promoting and building image of Pakistan was one of the prime responsibilities of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, for which special funds were allocated by the government. She said that the ministry under the guidance and vision of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was working hard on the revival of film industry in Pakistan as movies and cinema, due to their extensive social outreach, were the powerful mediums to promote cultural landscape of Pakistan within and outside the country.  On the proposal of Pakistani High Commissioner in Ottawa, the minister directed to arrange a visit of Canadian journalist group to various cities of Pakistan besides providing quality publicity material in adequate quantity on Pakistan Independent Day celebrations to the country's missions abroad.

In his remarks, Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada Tariq Azeem highlighted various activities to be launched there in connection with 70th independence anniversary to project positive image of Pakistan.

He informed that a cultural troupe of PNCA will visit Ottawa in August this year in connection with these celebrations and 150th anniversary of Canada independence.

Marriyum Aurangzeb also said that on the special directives of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the government was planning to launch a dedicated television channel for the coverage of Parliamentary proceedings. The Parliament was the only platform to raise the issues of public through their representatives and for this, launching a separate channel was need of the hour, she said while talking to a news channel.

"Without a strong Parliament, no institution in the country can be strengthened," she remarked.

The Minister of State said that the Parliament and democracy in the country were being strengthened. Pakistan would make progress only after the public voice was raised in the Parliament, she added. To a question, she said that Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf was habitual of making hue

and cry on every issue and denigrate institutions by using abusive language against them.

As per rules, she said, that Opposition held no rights for conducting Press conferences at the Press Information Department (PID).

They could further ask for irrational demand tomorrow to sit on the chair of the Speaker or the Prime Minister, she remarked.

The Opposition leader was honorable for everyone, but the issues should be resolved with collective efforts, she added.

Replying to a question regarding permission of telecasting the speech of Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah on PTV, the Minister of State said that she had assured the Opposition to telecast his speech later, as it was not possible to make a live telecast due to Ramazan transmission.

She, however, regretted that the matter had been politicised by the Opposition.

It was not the practice in the past to show the speech of Opposition on national TV except in 2015, she said, adding, it was proposed to sit together for making rules so that speeches of the Opposition leaders could also be telecast live.

To another question, she emphatically said that next elections would be held in 2018.