Zardari offers media ‘back-scratch’ programme

Says they will help media come out of crisis if it backs Opposition for dislodging PTI govt

ISLAMABAD - PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday offered media help in addressing its issues if it supported the opposition efforts to dislodge PTI-led government.

Interestingly this came the same day his son, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, sough media’s help to parliament in it war on judiciary in exchange for their support to media’s struggle for ‘freedom of expression’ against the government.

Addressing an all parties conference organised by JUI-F on the Kashmir issue, Zardari asked the media to support them in toppling the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and in return they would help overcome the media industry problems.

The former president however did not elaborate exactly what sort of help he wanted from media and how come he would steer the media industry out of the economic crunch and the threat posed to its power by a government-proposed central and more powerful regulatory authority.

On the issue of Kashmir, the PPP leader said that country’s stand on Kashmir issue was not limited to any particular government and its policy as the whole nation is one when it comes to the Kashmir dispute with India.

The former president said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must realise that Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir is not limited to any government’s policy. “The Pakistani nation is one when it comes to the Kashmir cause and it will never abandon the people of Kashmir.”

Predicting to see Kashmiri nation securing freedom in his life, Zardari said, “Kashmir is in our DNA and it could not be separated from us.”

Zardari however saw the dictatorial regimes to be less committed to the Kashmir cause than the democratic governments.

He said that military regimes put this key issue on backburner while the political governments kept raising it through engagement with India and highlighting it at all available national and international forums.

The PPP leader said that today Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Asifa were raising the issue at all available forums. “Their hearts are throbbing with the Kashmiri nation and no one can separate them from their Kashmiri brethren,” he said about his children.

He said that the very foundation of PPP was laid on the Kashmir issue so they could not even think of abandoning their Kashmiri brethren.

Calling for international intervention against New Delhi, he said Islamabad would continue to use all global forums to highlight India’s brutalities in Occupied Kashmir.

Other participants of the conference, attended by political leadership from cross section of political elite, also strongly condemned illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

They called upon the international community to take notice of the Indian forces’ brutalities against Kashmiris and play its role in resolving the long-pending issue according to the resolutions of the United Nations.

They demanded of the Indian government to immediately release Kashmir leaders, including Shabbir Shah, Mir Waiz Umer Farooq and Asia Andrabi.

They noted that India is keeping the freedom leaders in detention to prevent them from leading the freedom struggle.

Taking the rostrum PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq said that Kashmiri nation was subjected to state-sponsored terrorism and it should be highlighted in effective fashion.

He stressed the need of holding such conference in AJK capital Muzaffarabad where Kashmiris should be saddled in front seats as they are the main party to the dispute. The voice coming from them would have more effect and impact at international level, he added.

JI central leader Liaquat Baloch also stressed the need of raising the issue at international level in more effective fashion with the support and backing of AJK people and called upon prioritising the Kashmir issue at government level.

He grilled the incumbent government led by Imran Khan for “putting the issue on backburner”.

Addressing the seminar, Jamiat-e-Ulama Islam-Fazal chief Fazalur Rehman said the nation has been observing February 5 as day of solidarity with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir and international community also accepts Kashmir as a dispute which needs to be settled.

He said his party will continue its moral and political support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that having been a former chairman of the Kashmir Committee, he knew well about different institutions’ attitude towards the Kashmir issue. But the current government’s attitude was too disappointing, he held.

The veteran politician said that it was their responsibility to draw the attention of institutions towards their flaws and shortcomings, adding that the growing disappointment among the Kashmiris would not be in the interest of Pakistan.

PPP Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter President Chaudhry Latif Akbar appreciated the organisers of the event and said Kashmiris on one hand were fighting for their right to self-determination and on the other hand rendering sacrifices for the sovereignty of Pakistan.

Akbar said that the dictatorial regimes in the past had caused massive damage to the Kashmir issue. Former prime minister (late) Benazir Bhutto for the first time in the history of Pakistan formed Kashmir Committee and brought the Kashmir issue in the limelight and made it important part of his government’s foreign policy.

Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar said that Balochistan would continue its support to the Kashmir cause.

Kashmir Liberation Front (KLF) chief Abdul Majeed Malik said Pakistan should immediately abandon the Simla Accord and he stressed the United Nations for immediate implementation of UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

Hurriyat leader Syed Yousaf Naseem said Pakistan and Kashmir’s relation is based on faith. He said the Kashmir dispute is an unfinished agenda of partition of sub-continent.

Maulana Awais Noorani said that how the current government could solve the Kashmir issue when it was itself involved in oppression as was evident from the Sahiwal incident in which law enforcement officials brutally killed four innocent citizens.

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