Sunday, September 10, 2023
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'Productive, helpful': Durrani spills the beans on rendezvous with President Alvi

"His thinking was positive. That’s why my meeting was meaningful and pleasant," says Durrani

Former information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani (Left) and President Arif Alvi. — Facebook/AFP/File
Former information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani (Left) and President Arif Alvi. — Facebook/AFP/File

  • "If Senate polls precede general polls, democracy will break." 
  • Doing what Pakistan needs, my duty as politician, he says.
  • Political strategy, national agenda needed to address inflated bills.

ISLAMABAD: Former federal minister for information and broadcasting Muhammad Ali Durrani has said that his recent meeting with President Dr Arif Alvi was "productive" and helped reduce political temperatures, The News reported Sunday.   

Speaking during an interview with The News and Jang on Saturday, Durrani said he had a long-standing relationship with Dr Alvi. 

"His thinking was positive. That’s why my meeting was meaningful and pleasant," he said. 

Earlier this week — on the eve of the completion of the president's constitutional term on September 8 — an "unusual" huddle took place between President Alvi and the former information minister. 

To a question on whose request he was holding these meetings, the former federal minister said the meeting was his personal initiative. 

"I am doing what Pakistan needs and it is my duty as a politician."

It is pertinent to note that the Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F) leader — who served as information minister during late military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s era — last made headlines when he, in 2021, proposed to initiate a "grand dialogue" among stakeholders.

Furthermore, Durrani cautioned that the democratic system would "break down" if general elections did not precede the Senate polls.

"General elections must take place ahead of the Senate elections so that the parliament is not left incomplete.”

During the interview, Durrani remarked that he was an ardent supporter of reconciliation and it cannot happen overnight and only through some meetings. 

"Confidence-building measures have to be taken," he said. 

When asked about a possible meeting with former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the former federal minister said that the conflict is neither in the interest of the people nor Imran.

He said politics is the name of opening doors and exploring possibilities, and for that, there can be meetings with anyone.

Responding to a question about holding the elections in 90 days, Durrani said that creating a conducive environment was essential ahead of the polls and it was politicians’ duty to pacify public frustration, anger and divisions.

“The [political] leaders should focus on the national agenda rather than personal gains to turn people’s despair into hope,” he said. He said that democracy can be strengthened only through national reconciliation and unity.

He said that economic challenges and terrorism have posed serious threats to the country and it was politicians’ duty to join hands and steer the country out of multifaceted crises. “Infightings and hostile attitude against the country’s institutions will weaken democracy and the country,” he said.

The former minister said the collision course would not benefit any politician. “It has the propensity to escalate the tensions and ultimately both the country and the people suffer,” he said.

Durrani said that setting politics aside, the key to economic recovery and relief from inflation lies in the Special Investment Facilitation Council, and ensuring its success should be our foremost objective.

He said that internal stability is the first precondition for economic stability and recovery. “Since political stability was the requirement to materialise the concept of SIFC, all parties have to play their own role to nurture and protect this concept,” he said.

Durrani said that all eyes were on the politicians since the masses were crushed by record-high inflation and economic depression. “They want relief from their sufferings,” he said. 

He said that people cannot get relief by burning inflated electricity bills, nor can these problems be solved by raising the political temperature. “This requires a political strategy and a national agenda and that is what I am striving for,” he added.