ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said Saturday that affairs of a state could not be run without taxes and government would not be blackmailed by any one.

She said status quo would definitely resist when challenged by the state.

Addressing a presser along with Federal Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, she said out of 20,000 traders of Anarkali Bazaar (Lahore), only 600 were paying taxes.

She said the traders should choose negotiations table instead of protests. She added that traders must not promote someone’s political agenda.

However traders having political agenda would be dealt with accordingly. The government could not be blackmailed by anyone, she added.

The economy could not be run on loans, she added. She alleged that trader wings of some political parties were compelling businessmen to observe strike.

SAPM said accountability judge Arshad Malik had been barred from working, adding that speeches of convicted people are aired on media. She said no twitter account was blocked by information ministry.

Says traders must choose negotiations instead of protests

Firdous said beneficiaries of status quo were hindering the path of progress. She said courts were the appropriate forum to respond to the issues being faced by the leadership of PML-N, and not workers conventions. Firdous said traders were partners of the government, “We will solve their issues.”

She said a competition was ongoing among PML-N leaders to show their obedience to the Zil-e-Subhani (Shadow of God) of Jati Umra by holding workers conventions.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders were in fact trying to get appreciation from their ‘king’, she said.

Dr Firdous said the real forum to prove one’s innocence was the court but the PML-N leadership was reluctant to approach the same for remedy. She said the incumbent government fully believed in freedom of expression as evident from the fact that journalists were writing whatever they wanted. Similarly, there was no restriction for anchor persons to discuss any matter on air, she added.

She, however, said the code of conduct being pursued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had not been framed by the present government.

Dr Firdous said she was ready to fight the case of upright journalists.

She said the government stood with the journalists, who were promoting the national interest.

She said the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States was very important.

“Some unscrupulous elements, who were dejected due to the visit, are using some journalists for their ulterior motives.”

She said the attention of people was being diverted by holding workers conventions.

“If anyone is summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), she starts making a hue and cry,” she added.

Dr Firdous said the war of succession had also started at Jati Umra.

She said Abbasi, who was the puppet prime minister selected by Zil-e-Subhani, had wasted record public money on his useless foreign tours.

She said “Those trading in millions had wasted billions of rupees of the nation on futile foreign tours.”

A lot of public money was given to the near and dear ones as tips, besides TA/DAs and having lavish meals on government expense by the past rulers, she added.

Dr Firdous said Abbasi, during his brief tenure as prime minister, had undertaken 19 foreign trips with entourage of 214 people costing Rs 259.59 million to the public exchequer.

She said in 2017, Abbasi accompanied with 114 people went abroad nine times while in 2018, he undertook 10 foreign trips with 105 people and remained outside the country for 26 days. A sum of Rs 5.48 million was wasted on giving tips to his courtiers by a courtier of the King, she alleged. Contrary to his claims of eating homemade meal, Abbasi as prime minister spent Rs 8.99 million on food, she added.

Likewise, Dr Firdous said Abbasi spent Rs 37.73 million during his three tours of United Kingdom, besides billions of rupees on his visits to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and  Afghanistan.

The country had achieved nothing from Abbasi’s ‘useless’ visits.

Dr Firdous said PML-N leader Khawaja Asif had become a threat to Pakistan’s security as he kept on receiving salary from a foreign company while he had the portfolios of foreign, and water and power ministry. The federal cabinet, she said, had already directed the Ministry of Interior to investigate the matter. Asif’s act of receiving salary from a foreign company was a serious security breach, she added.