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Govt wants to impose new curbs on media: Nisar

28 February, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday said the government had some dangerous designs against the independent media and wanted to impose some new curbs on the freedom of expression.

Talking to reporters at the Parliament House, he said the government was planning to impose restrictions on the media to protect and secure its position for the next general elections. "The government wants to protect its position in the general elections at the cost of an independent media," he said.

Nisar said he would raise this critical issue on March 2 (Thursday) when the National Assembly would meet after gathering some more detailsabout the government's move. To a question, the opposition leader said the PML-N was the only opposition party which had been pressurising the government for early elections. "As the new electoral rolls will be ready by mid of June and there will be the holy month of Ramazan, therefore, it will not be possible to have elections in September or October without exerting pressure on the government," he said, adding the PML-N had also decided to launch a campaign for next polls.

He said other opposition parties — JI, PTI and JUI-F — had changed their stance on early elections. "The JI says that the PPP government should not be given the chance of becoming a political martyr while PTI and JUI-F have also changed their stance," he said.

He said the Election Commission had become independent with the passage of 20th Amendment, adding the commission should come into action against the blatant use of official resources during and before the by-elections, particularly in Multan and Attock.

He said the whole Prime Minister House was sitting in Multan where the national exchequer was openly used and new development schemes were started a few days before the polling day.

Nisar said there was a ban on provision of new gas connections, but before the by-elections for a provincial seat in Attock, the government promised to provide gas connections to 29 villages.

He said the popularity of the ruling PPP was on the decline because it had lost one national and one provincial assembly seats, won by it in 2008 elections, to the PML-N, which also retained seats vacated by its members.

Nisar urged the Election Commission to take note of the slapping of an assistant presiding officer by a PPP candidate in Tando Muhammad Khan. He said the incident was a test case not only for the government, Election Commission and courts, but also for the civil society and lawyers community. He urged the government not to impose the radio tax, saying the tax was not only without any reasons, but would also be an illegal act.

To a question, he expressed concern over disclosure by Prime Minister Gilani that the air route for Nato forces was never closed. "You can expect anything from the government," he said. He said it was not a government but groups of different people who gave contradictory statements to confuse issues.

INP adds: Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused the government of rigging in the by-polls. He said rigging tactics employed by the PPP government brought back the memories of Musharraf government.

He said the government was not serious in resolving the issue of Balochistan. He said the PML-N would attend the All Parties Conference on Balochistan if the killers of Nawab Akbar Bugti were arrested.


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