KARACHI    -   US President Donald Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir reflected growing acceptance of bold stance of Prime Minister Imran Khan on genuine national rights and interests, said Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference, she said effective and solid measures adopted by the PTI Government for a corruption-free society, institutional reforms, empowerment of institutions and rule of the law, had markedly helped change the world perception about Pakistan.

“Recognition of Kashmir as a “dispute” reflects a positive change in President Donald Trump’s approach, who through his tweets since assuming US president office and even before, was known for his negative impression about our country,” she said.

Highly appreciative of the successful (ongoing) US visit of the Prime Minister, Firdous Ashiq Awan said a leader with immense face-value and credibility due to sheer commitment to his principled stance, has helped combat anti-Pakistan impression, created by ‘strong’ enemies of the country.

“This is because he holds no backlog of corruption,” she said reminding that India over the years had been able to successfully sell its narrative about Pakistan and its support to the struggle of Kashmiris, by hiring lobbyists.

“It is now being successfully countered by Pakistan,” she commented.

She said Indian efforts to weaken cause of Occupied Kashmir and get freedom fighters declared as terrorists, had effectively been defeated and added now the international support can be ensured for the just cause of Kashmir and its people. “Imran Khan not only repeatedly kept apprising the international community about Pakistan’s commitment to the cause of peace but through his actions also communicated the country’s absolute firmness in this regard,” said the PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting.

Establishing Pakistan as a strong proponent of peace and also getting it through that, may not be construed as any weakness on part of the country since getting shot down Indian planes intruding into air space and then returning one of their pilots, had a meaningful impact on international perception about Pakistan, she added.

“There is definitely an important role of civil and military leadership and there is a paradigm shift in this regard,” emphasized the PM’s special assistant.

Reminding that US President has also cited Pakistan as a key partner of his country, she said this was again the outcome of proper image-building of the country.

She said: “Imran Khan’s first visit to US as PM is not to procure any aid but to protect interest of the country and this he has well established.”

As for statement of US President about Pakistan being a key partner, the Special Assistant said US and Pakistan were important strategic partners in the realm of defence and economy.

“US is the largest market for our exports and the largest foreign direct investment also comes from US while remittances sent by US based Pakistanis is also a significant contribution,” she added. Yet, it has been made clear that there would be no compromise at the cost of country’s internal and external interests, she said. “Gone are the days when national interests were compromised over individual benefits,” she added.

On a question about accountability of corrupt people, she said PM Imran Khan has emphasized that jails should be means of deterrence and not recreational centres or luxury hotels.

Mentioning July 25, declared as Day of Protest, would be observed by the nation as a Day of Accountability, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said corruption and wrongdoings of the opposition leaders were increasingly becoming evident.

On a question about increase in cost of living, she said no raise had been made on food items and it was almost 80 percent responsibility of the provincial government to control the situation.

“The federal government will definitely provide all support to the provincial governments in evolving an efficient mechanism against the culprits,” she added. To a query regarding “No Confidence” move of the opposition against Senate Chairman, she said that treasury benches have submitted a similar application against the Deputy Chairman and as per Constitution the matter was now before the President of Pakistan to decide. About repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland, the Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting said a major headway was made during the last visit of Afghan President and things would be duly streamlined in this regard.

Regarding the problems faced by Karachi residents, she said the federal government was giving an additional amount of Rs 200 billion to the Sindh government against its due share in the sphere of development.

Being an economic and political face of the country and deemed a barometer for the entire country by the foreign visitors and investors, the federal government was committed to play its role in improving the situation.

“PTI government will support provincial government in schemes related to clean drinking and desalination plant for the city and hopefully this would be done during the current tenure of PTI federal government,” she said.