ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Wednesday said that it was not the right time to start a national discussion on changes to the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
He said that the government had no plans to initiate any kind of talks with the opposition parties in this respect, The News reported. “There are lots of people talking about amendments,” he noted.
“But I will say that the government is currently focusing on fighting COVID-19 pandemic and preparing people-friendly budget. Therefore, we are not going to holds talks with regard to the 18th Amendment,” he said.
‘Need two-thirds majority to introduce changes’
“The government needs two-thirds majority in Parliament to introduce changes or amendments in the 18th Amendment so at this stage we cannot divert our energies towards it,” he remarked.
“Due to ongoing fight against COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to address the economic challenges confronting the nation, we cannot lose focus,” the newly-appointed federal minister told The News.
“In my personal opinion, there are some weaknesses in the 18th Amendment that must be addressed by developing consensus among all the political parties,” Faraz said in his remarks on Wednesday.
‘PM Imran has not discussed 18th Amendment in cabinet meeting’
“It is really difficult for us at the moment to initiate hectic talks with the opposition parties and develop consensus for changes in the 18th Amendment,” he said.
Replying to another question about the opinion of some other ministers on the subject, Faraz dismissed the notion that Prime Minister Imran Khan had brought up the subject during a cabinet meeting.
“I tell it with authority that Prime Minister Imran Khan has not discussed the issue of 18th Amendment in the last cabinet meeting and he did not hold any kind of meeting to get input from anyone on this topic,” he said.
‘Government believes in freedom of press’
Answering a question, he said, “I think all the political parties will have to hold a debate over 18th Amendment in future to address the issues related to financial discipline and national economy.”
“I don’t know whether some clauses in 18th Amendment are creating concerns about the security issues as I have not heard about them from the prime minister or any other member of the federal cabinet,” he added.
“The government never wants to control media as it believes in freedom of press. A strong media always provides strength to the government and the country as well,” he categorically stated.