Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday asked the opposition and the media to work for strengthening the country by setting aside personal agendas for the time being.Talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly, she said the opposition and the media had a vital role to play in democracy. The opposition parties should play the role of a responsible opposition, as the country could not afford political instability in the current scenario, she said. She urged the opposition to use its energies to help improve the economy. “Let’s forsake politics for the time being and wage an economic war for the country.”The opposition should stand by the government in implementing its economic reforms agenda and help formulate a long-term economic policy for the country, the minister said. Regarding the media, the special assistant said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government firmly considered the media as the fourth estate and Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed her as his special assistant to look into the problems being faced by the media persons. She said the Punjab Information Ministry would work in close collaboration with the media industry. “The remnants of the previous regime were a hurdle in the improvement of relations between the PTI government and the media,” she said, and added that the provincial government would hold monthly press briefings on its the performance in order to bridge the communication gap. She said the interim wage board award had been finalised, which would be announced soon. She said she had requested Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to pay the outstanding bills of media outlets.Firdous said the government would welcome constructive criticism from the media, and dispelled the impression that the PTI was on the warpath with the media. To a query, she said Imran Khan and Usman Buzdar were on the same page, and added that the PTI’s Parliamentary Party in the Punjab Assembly in its meeting on Monday expressed full confidence in the leadership of Buzdar. She said the prime minister had tasked the new finance team with making a people-friendly budget in order to provide maximum relief to the masses. The government would be able to cope with the financial challenges, she added. To a question about the former finance minister, she said Asad Umar was a time-tested friend of Imran Khan. He had rendered invaluable services for the PTI, and added that a “poor inning” did not mean that he was not a “good player”.Firdous said there were many challenges on the economic front, and Dr Hafeez Sheikh, who had excellent professional skills, was given the reins of the Finance Ministry to overcome them. She hoped that Dr Hafeez Sheikh would be able to get a better financial package from the International Monetary Fund for the country. To a question, she said the PTI government was working hard to turn Punjab into a political fortress of the party.