ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Monday said the decision of extension in the service of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa was made in the larger national interest keeping in view continuity of state polices in the prevailing regional situation.

She said Pakistan was in a state of war due to continuous ceasefire violations by India on the Line of Control (LoC), the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, and law and order situation in Balochistan.

Four Pakistan Army soldiers were recently martyred in unprovoked Indian firing from across the LoC, she said while talking to PTV.

Dr Firdous said continuation of Gen Bajwa’s tenure for next three years was a timely decision as the government had achieved successes in the war against terrorism and established its complete writ in the merged tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

She said that role of Gen Bajwa in keeping both the military and civil leadership on one page on the Afghan policy was imperative. The world had now acknowledged Pakistan’s stance that peace could only be established in Afghanistan through talks. Pakistan played a vital role in bringing Taliban on the table for negotiations, she added.

She said Pakistan had sacrificed 80,000 lives of innocent people in the war against terror and the international country had admitted the country’s crucial role in eliminating the menace of terrorism after 17 years.

“The commander is not changed in the war like situation,” the special assistant said.

Dr Firdous said when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came into power the country’s economy was in the ruins, with ever increasing foreign loans and decreasing exports.

The PTI government had to take loans to pay the existing ones and after hectic efforts, it saved the country from bankruptcy, she added.

She said the government was focusing on austerity measures and wealth creation through industrialization. Prime Minister Imran Khan did not opt at the PM House and was only using the PM Secretariat for running the government affairs, and thus saved Rs 320 million from the national kitty, she added.

She said the prime minister also directed ministries and institutions for adopting austerity measures to save the national wealth.

The special assistant said the saved wealth was being spent for uplifting new merged tribal areas and Balochistan.

She said the PTI government wanted to make Pakistan a social welfare state like the State of Madina.

Provision of speedy justice to the people and elimination of corruption from the society were on top of the agenda of PTI government, she said adding many programmes had been launched for uplifting the downtrodden segments of the society.

Dr Firdous said loans were being provided to the youth to establish their own businesses and health cards were issued while housing schemes were launched for the poor.

Regarding the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, she said reforms were being introduced in the ministry to transform it on modern lines as it played the role of government’s mouthpiece.

During her last tenure as information minister, she said it was an era for the media transition from print to electronic and now it was the age of social media. She said a social media cell had been established in the information ministry.

She said reforms had also been introduced in Associated Press of Pakistan, while the Pakistan Television had been converted into a profitable organization.

To a question, the special assistant said the issues of pensioners in the attached departments of information ministry had been resolved now.

Dr Firdous said industrialization would help reduce economic woes of the masses. On the accountability front, the special assistant said the National Accountability Bureau had recovered Rs 30 billion during the last one year from the corrupt elements.

Responding to a question, Dr Firdous said a mechanism had been evolved to gauge the performance of every ministry. The performance of every ministry and departments would be reviewed by the prime minister, she added.