PPP keen to address MQM reservations: Firdous

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday said the Government was keen to address Mutahidda Qaumi Movement reservations and for this purpose, it was in touch with MQM.Talking to mediapersons after inauguration of Electronic Media Relations Wing at Press Information Department (PID) Building, she said MQM had been an ally of the Pakistan Peoples Party for over three years.She said it was democratic era and the PPP would welcome any party coming forward to play its role in strengthening the democracy.The Information Minister said that the people’s government wanted to resolve all issues through dialogue process.About allegations of rigging, she said that no elections were held on those two seats, how could some body say that rigging had been done.She also clarified that these seats were not for Karachi only, actually they cover areas outside Punjab including Sindh and Balochistan.To a question about Balochistan situation, she said that the Army, Frontier Constabulary and other security agencies were implementing the policy of the government.The government after consultations with all the stakeholders formulates policies and these institutions only implement these policies, she added.The PPP government was working to bring back normalcy and stability to Balochistan province, she said.

To a question about increase in natural gas tariff, she said that gas prices for fertilizer producing factories had been capped for past 12 years. Now the government has withdrawn the subsidy on fertilizer plants, so the gas price for these factories would increase, she added.She said Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority has called for more increase, but the government has only approved 15 percent increase in gas tariff for commercial consumers and CNG users.She said that it was policy of the government to bring CNG prices closer to petrol prices so that natural gas could be saved for domestic consumers. However, domestic consumers would not be affected by this raise in gas tariff,she added.

Earlier inaugurating the Electronic Media Directorate, she said it has been established to facilitate the electronic media on the pattern of Press Information Department, facilitating the print media.She said that with the mushroom growth of electronic media in the 21st century, need of a special directorate for them was being felt for quite some time.She said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was a regulatory body while this Directorate would be a facilitator and play the role of a bridge between the government and the electronic media.It would provide correct information about government ministries and institutions, she said. – APP