PTI leader Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday downplayed being denied entry to the Punjab Assembly for the oathtaking ceremony of PTI MPA Ahsan Saleem Baryar.
Videos circulating on social media showed Awan being stopped by security personnel at the entrance of the provincial legislature. The officials showed her a list of guests who were allowed for Baryar’s oathtaking ceremony, from which her own name had been struck off, after which she left the premises.
Talking to the media outside the provincial legislature, she said she was late to the oathtaking ceremony and the session had already ended, therefore “there was no need for me to go there. That is why I felt appropriate to not go to the assembly so there is nothing like this that anyone targeted me and stopped me from going inside”.
She said the PML-Q was an ally of the PTI and the speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, had the right to permit or refuse entry as the custodian. “Whatever issues of our House are there, we will settle them among ourselves,” she said.
Referring to her former role as special assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar (SACM) on information, she said her statements were not personal but the government’s stance and policy so “if there are any reservations then I will resolve them together with the speaker”.
Pressed by journalists on the Punjab Assembly speaker reportedly being angry with her, she said she was the “strongest voice” in advocating and strengthening the PTI-PML-Q alliance. “Today we think too … that we have to move forward together and resolve any reservations if there are any.”
Awan explained that she had not informed anyone of her visit when questioned on why no minister or official had come out to receive her. “The purpose for which I was coming was the oathtaking and that ceremony had already ended and the session adjourned so we can make small talk outside as well,” she said.
Questioned again on whether she had been personally targeted due to the PTI and PML-Q’s political relations, Awan responded: “These are all ups and downs of politics … I think the stance you’re pointing to, if it exists, then it is a petty stance and big people have big thinking and they don’t get involved in such things and I don’t think this would be in the speaker’s notice.”
She praised Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as a man of “grand” thinking and vision, saying that his connection with the nation was very strong. “I don’t think he will target any current or former member and malign them … I expect big thinking from him,” Awan said.
Regarding her future political role in the PTI, Awan said she would perform whatever role the party deemed appropriate with honesty and trustworthiness under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership.
Awan had resigned from her position on Friday, less than a year after being appointed to the position, citing “unavoidable personal grounds”.