Free, fair polls priority, say ministers

Caretaker Information Minister Arif Nizami has said the government will fully facilitate national and international media during elections to enable them to perform their professional duties.

Chairing a meeting at Ministry of Information in Islamabad on Wednesday, he asked official media to adopt a balanced approach and maintain a level of neutrality in reporting events.

The Information Minister said "We are a staunch advocate of media freedom and can never allow any sort of curbs on it."

Earlier Secretary Information Agha Nadeem briefed the minister about the working of the ministry.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Malik Mohammad Habib Khan, in his first meeting at the Ministry of Interior after holding the charge, giving the policy guideline has stressed that holding of peaceful general elections would be the top priority of the ministry.

In this connection, the minister chaired a high-level meeting at Ministry of Interior in which senior officers of the ministry briefed him about the various departments of the ministry, their functions and working as well.

An official handout issued by the ministry says that Interior Minister Malik Mohammad Habib Khan while giving policy guidelines, emphasized that the Ministry of Interior should focus its attention to ensure safe and peaceful environment for the coming general elections. "And all available resources would be effectively utilized in this connection," the minister said. He also gave directions to hold high-level meetings to ensure coordination with all stakeholders.

He expressed that upon recommendations of Election Commission of Pakistan, any person of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) found indulging in political favouritism would be dealt with strictly under the law.