Govt believes in freedom of speech, says Shibli

By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: While condemning the alleged murder of a female social activist and journalist in Balochistan’s Turbat, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Sunday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government “strongly believed in freedom of expression”.
In a tweet, the minister said the tragic killing of the journalist, Shaheena Shaheen, was “extremely sad and reprehensible” and vowed that the incident will be thoroughly investigated.
Noting that the protection of journalists was the responsibility of the government, Faraz said that the state will fulfill its duty and is standing by the affected family, adding that those responsible will be brought to justice.
Shaheen, 25, was shot dead at her home in the Turbat area of Kech district on Saturday evening. According to police, unidentified suspects opened fire on the journalist at her residence in TTC Colony of Turbat. The killers escaped unhurt from the scene, police said.
Shaheen was a local anchorperson at the state-owned broadcaster, Pakistan Television (PTV), and editor of a local magazine. She was also a student of fine arts at the University Of Balochistan. Terming the incident “extremely unfortunate”, Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani had said the police were fully cooperating with the deceased’s family.
Earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Friday said Prime Minister Imran Khan would announce a special package for Karachi to resolve the problems being faced the people for years, including provision of clean drinking water, and sewerage and drainage system.
It was the responsibility of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s government to provide some financial relief to the rain-stricken residents of the Sindh metropolis and the hefty package should not be linked with the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, he said while talking to a private news channel.
The minister said the Federal Government would assist the provinces in dealing with the natural calamities, but it could not intervene directly under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
Not a single penny under the package would be issued to the Sindh government directly, rather all the funds would be spent on the city’s development projects by the Federal Government under its own supervision, he added Shibli Faraz said the Pakistan Peoples’ Party had been ruling the Sindh province for over 12 years, but it had done nothing to improve the transport, sewerage and drainage system of the mega city.
He said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had claimed to spend Rs 800 billion on development projects in the province, particularly Karachi, but the ground situation showed the otherwise. He should be questioned as to where his government had spent such a huge amount, the minister added.
Shibli Faraz said the residents from across Karachi were protesting against the provincial government for the devastation caused by the heavy rains in the city. But the latter was lamenting the fact that the funds under the special package would not go to the coffers of Omni Group and would rather be spent on the people’s welfare in a transparent manner.