Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has remarked that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is ‘ready to withdraw’ controversial amendments made to the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) law, adding that he has asked Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to mediate between the government and the media on the matter.
On a private television show, Fawad Chaudhry stated that “We have given full authority [of the PECA ordinance] to Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and we will do what he says, we will not object.”
The federal minister reportedly had a conversation with the Punjab Assembly speaker to discuss the PECA ordinance, as well as the recent meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the speaker’s cousin and fellow leader of the PML-Q.
Fawad Chaudhry reportedly told Pervaiz Elahi that he should play the role of ‘mediator’ between the government and the media on the PECA law, and reiterated the government’s belief in freedom of expression. The recently promulgated amendments have elicited condemnation from civil society, media bodies and the legal fraternity, who have termed the law as a ‘draconian’ effort to censure the government’s critics.
Both the government and the opposition have sought the support of the PML-Q in recent weeks. The prime minister met with key PML-Q allies in Lahore on Tuesday in an effort to solidify the support of his only allies in the Centre and in Punjab.
Earlier this month, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari reportedly indicated that he had named Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to replace Usman Buzdar as Punjab Chief Minister, should the opposition’s no-confidence motion succeed.