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Bangladesh should remove ban on waving flags: Pervaiz

27 March, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The Minister for Information, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, said on Wednesday that the Bangladesh government should remove the ban on local cricket fans flying flags of other countries during the World Twenty20.

He said sports should be free from politics and banning spectators from bringing flags of any country was unfortunate."Spectators express their feelings on the grounds and if they cannot support their favourite teams and players, then they should be asked to watch matches at home on TV channels," the minister said in an informal chat with media persons after attending a function on the "Launch of the Media Commission Report" here at a local hotel.

To a question, Pervaiz Rashid said Pakistan was not becoming part of any proxy war as the government was following the policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries. He said Pakistan would never interfere in any other country's internal matters and at the same time would not allow any other country to interfere in its own internal affairs.

Pervaiz Rashid conceded that some elements were trying to defame Pakistan by spreading baseless rumours and noted that the armed forces' responsibility was to protect the integrity of the country and foil any foreign aggression and they were doing their professional duties befittingly.

To another question, the minister said neither any country had asked for the Pakistan Army's deployment nor the government was sending any troops to any country. He said the armed forces were here to perform their constitutional duties.

Regarding the talks with the Taliban, he said the government team holding the talks with the TTP was fully empowered. About the foreign policy, he said the PML-N had a track record of improving relations with neighbours.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a vision on foreign policy and since his first term as prime minister, he has been trying to improve relations with all neighbours," he pointed out.

To a question on the Metro Bus Project in Rawalpindi, the minister said there were many critics of the Motorway project but when it became operational, everyone praised it.

Similarly, he said, the Metro Bus Project would silence its critics after its completion. The minister maintained that all civilised countries provided the latest transport facilities to its masses. He said the Pakistan government wanted to do the same and its criticism was uncalled for.

When asked about noted media person Najam Sethi's appointment as chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Pervaiz Rashid said he was a good administrator and the national team's performance had improved after his appointment.

Earlier, speaking at the function, the minister said journalists were a vibrant part of the society and the government acknowledged its responsibility to provide them a safe and secure environment.

He said that all the issues related to the security and welfare of the journalists community were being handled with full conviction. "The prime minister is also taking personal interest in the welfare and protection of journalists," he said.

"The purpose of the formation of the media commission is to prepare a report on which government, public media, experts and civil society members may debate on transparency, accountability and progress of our media," he said.

The minister, on this occasion, congratulated the Media Commission team on drafting a comprehensive and effective report including reformative actions by media owners, practitioners and journalists.

Pervaiz Rashid said the government had announced the constitution of a commission comprising media persons, public figures and government representatives that would propose measures to be adopted by the government to protect journalists in the field and ensure their well-being.

"We are committed to make Pakistan a journalist-friendly country where not only local but also international media feels safe and secure during their professional assignments," he said.

The minister contended that the Media Commission was of the view that it was possible to facilitate and ensure freedom of print and electronic media and all efforts must be made by public and private media houses, broadcasters, talk show moderators and all working journalists to adopt media codes and ethics.

"Now Pakistan has entered into the age where politics has attained maturity," the minister said, adding that democracy had become functional, media has gained immense freedom, civil society has become dynamic and a unique culture of political tolerance has come in vogue.

The minister claimed that all these characteristics were non-existent in the past. "In the past, media freedom was suppressed by authoritarian regimes and now democracy is promoting the freedom of expression," he said.

He said the commission had proposed its recommendations and now responsibility of implementing them rested with the media sector itself and the government. He said the PML-N government was firmly committed to ensuring the freedom of the media and facilitating journalists and media practitioners in pursuit of their professional duties.

Noted media experts Ziauddin and Javed Jabbar also spoke on the occasion while Marvi Memon, who heads the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, threw light on her committee's initiatives with regards to the media and welfare of journalists.


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