Pak PM rejects information minister`s resignation

Last Updated: Sunday, December 25, 2011 - 16:01

Karachi: Under fire for failing to handle
affairs of the government and the ruling PPP properly,
Pakistan`s Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday
announced her resignation, which was rejected by Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Breaking into tears while announcing her resignation,
41-year-old Awan, who was elected to the National Assembly or
lower house of Parliament from Sialkot, said she did not wish
to carry on working as Minister for Information when her party
and Cabinet colleagues were not satisfied with her
performance.

She announced her resignation live on state-run
television during a meeting of the federal Cabinet in Karachi
chaired by Gilani, leaving her colleagues surprised and
shocked.

"I am submitting my resignation but will continue to
provide my full support and backing to the party and
government," said Awan.

Addressing Gilani, she said: "While endorsing your
leadership, I don`t think I can continue as a
member of the Cabinet."

She said the contributions of the coalition partners of
the ruling Pakistan People`s Party represented "a way forward
for our democratic vision".

Awan told Gilani: "I believe that under your leadership
and in the ownership of the President, we have to move
forward."

After her announcement, the PM has had a
one-to-one meeting with Awan and "told her she should continue
to carry on her duties as minister," a spokesman for the PM
House said.

Geo News reported that Awan, during her meeting with the
PM who rejected her resignation, had also conveyed
some of her reservations about problems in her ministry and
the state-run Pakistan television.

The Information Minister had in recent times come in for
severe criticism from the media and had also been the subject
of ridicule for her controversial and contradictory statements
and press announcements on government affairs.

She was strongly criticized when she held a press
conference in Islamabad with another PPP minister Babar Awan
after the Supreme Court ordered a probe into a secret memo
sent to the US seeking its help to avert a possible coup in
Pakistan following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a covert
American raid in Abbottabad on May 2.

The two had lashed out at the judiciary and used
harsh language, prompting Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry to
ask Gilani to make the government`s stance clear.

Firdous Awan was also criticized for her contradictory
statements when President Asif Zardari had to rush to Dubai
recently for medical treatment, which led to confusion and
rumours in the country about the impending removal of the
government.

Sources said the federal Cabinet had asked Awan to
reconsider her resignation soon after her announcement.

Awan was the third PPP leader to hold the information
portfolio since the current government came to power in early
2008.

Her predecessors were Sherry Rehman, currently Pakistan`s
Ambassador-designate to the US, and Qamar Zaman Kaira.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 25, 2011 - 12:43

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