PESHAWAR   -  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has stated that journalists have played an important role in promoting democratic norms in the country, strengthening of accountability, promoting transparency, defeating terrorism and promoting the soft image of Pakistan Inter­nationally.

Addressing at a oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected cabinet of Peshawar Press Club, the chief minister announced a onetime spe­cial grant of Rs15 million for Peshawar Press Club and Rs50 Lakh grant for Khyber Union of Journalists along with announcing the provi­sion of Sehat Insaf Cards to Journalists in the province. He also announced the establishment of Media Colony, stating that the scheme had already been approved which would solve the residential issues of journalists in the provin­cial capital.

Minister Information Shaukat Yousafzai, Ad­visor to Chief Minister on merged districts Aj­mal Wazir, secretary information Imtiaz Ayub, director general information Imdadullah Khan, senior journalists and officials were also pres­ent on the occasion.

Recognising the important role of media, the chief minister maintained that Journalists had played an important role in strengthening of democratic culture in the country and expos­ing the corrupt practices which not only spread awareness among masses but also helped to bring about change in the political culture of the country.

Mahmood Khan added that the incumbent government believes in independence of press and constructive criticism which plays an integral role in democracies throughout the world.

The chief minister revealed that during the coming weeks, a comprehensive perfor­mance report of the provincial government would be presented before the public which will be helpful in communicating the devel­opment policy of the government to general masses.

The chief minister continued that the incum­bent government had taken pragmatic steps for the welfare of Journalist community of the province, including establishment of residen­tial media colonies, increase in the endowment funds, allocation of unemployment grant for up to two months, provision of financial assis­tance to Journalists who are above 60 years of age, one time financial assistance for the weed­ing of siblings, financial assistance for medical treatments and provision of provisional allot­ment letters of residential plots to 325 journal­ists. He revealed that Rs14.7 million had been provided to journalists in lieu of medical treat­ments under the Journalists Welfare Endow­ment Fund during the past five years despite meagre resources.

Mahmood Khan assured that the government would undertake efforts for resolution of issues faced by the Journalists, adding that a com­mittee, comprising of the president Peshawar Press Club, president Khyber Union of Journal­ists, regional information officers and deputy commissioners had been notified for resolution of internal disputes.

The CM added that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government was faced with in­surgency and rampant terrorism when it came into power during its previous tenure whereas during its present tenure, the provincial gov­ernment was faced with the challenge of merg­ing of tribal districts into the province.

He stated that PTI was successful in over­coming the challenges through honest efforts and positive role of journalists who worked sincerely for the national cause.