Govt resolving journalists community issues: Minister

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker Minister for Information, Auqaf, Hajj, Religious and Minority Affairs Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhil has said that the government will solve the problems and sufferings faced by journalists.

They will be provided a conductive environment for carrying out their journalistic activities.

The Information Department is now fully operational and the FIA is conducting an inquiry into the illegal cashing of government advertisement cheques.

The caretaker set-up will carry out its constitutional function till the general elections. The caretaker provincial government will present a budget for 4 months in which Rs. 130 billion is likely to be earmarked for developmental projects.

Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel expressed these views while talking to media representatives at Peshawar Press Club. On this occasion, Secretary Information Mukhtiar Ahmed, Director General Information and Public Relations Department Basir Ali Rehman, President Peshawar Press club Arshad Aziz Malik and General Secretary PPC were also with him.

On this occasion, Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel said that journalists and information department are two wheels of the same cart. Journalists will be provided with a good working environment and the provincial government is trying to resolve the problems and sufferings faced by the journalists community.

He said that a total of Rs. 38 million rupees have been released to the Peshawar Press Club, which will be spent on the welfare of journalists. Similarly, to solve the electricity problem faced by the Peshawar Press Club, the PPC will be solarized on priority basis. In response to a question, the caretaker provincial minister said that the mandate of the caretaker government is to conduct free, fair and transparent elections. It is the job of the Governor and the President of Pakistan to give the date of the elections and until the general elections are held, the caretaker setup will continue to carry out its constitutional work.

Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhil said that there were misunderstandings regarding the appointment of Director General Information, but now the Information Department is fully functional. He said that after meeting with the officers of the department, he transferred the officers to their desirable position on merit and performance basis.

He furthered that, nineteen officers were sent to the station and section of their choice so that these officers can work with their full mental capacity. Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel expressed his determination that nothing will be done which will affect the image of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He further said that the FIA is investigating the illegal cashing of government advertisement cheques by the Information Department. The department has to pay huge amount of money to the media houses for advertisement, but there is no record of payment of Rs.1 billion 30 crores which were released earlier through cheques.

He said that in the previous government, advertisements worth crores of rupees were issued to dummy newspapers and dummy channels. The Caretaker Minister said that a committee of press club and information department will be formed in this regard, so as to issue advertisement to those newspapers which are eligible in all respect. He said that the dummy newspapers and dummy channels rob the rights of other genuine journalistic institutions.

Answering a question, the caretaker Information minister said that the Caretaker Chief Minister has written several letters to the federal government for NHP profit revenue and due to his efforts two billion rupees have been received by the province. The caretaker government is working to collect all arrears of NHP profits from the Federation.

Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel said that the 09th May incident was pre-planned and the young generation was misled for this purpose. He said the Radio Pakistan Peshawar building was completely distorted on 9th May. He said that Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed is the first Nishan Haider holder of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and I personally went to visit his mausoleum and apologized to his family for the incident of 09 May. Similarly, I went to Jinnah House in Lahore and was crying tears of blood after seeing the scenes there.” he added”

Regarding the budget, the caretaker provincial minister said that the interim budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be for 4 months, in which 876 billion rupees are expected to be received from the federal government. The size of the development budget can be 130 billion while the budget related issues will be completed in one to two days.

He said that the caretaker government is trying its level best that not to borrow more loans. The budget will consider keeping a fund for journalists on the pattern of other provinces. Speaking on this occasion, Secretary Information and Public Relations Department Mukhtiar Ahmed said that he is going to revise the advertisement policy which will be attached to wadge board. Newspapers, channels and other media organizations that do not pay salaries to their workers according to the government wadges policy would be blacklisted.

He said regarding the advertisement policy, the journalist community will be taken on board and they can give their suggestions and recommendations in this regard.
During the press briefing, the caretaker minister also offered Fatiha and condolence on the death of the mother of senior journalist Jamal Nasir.