7th Wage Board Award: Journalists win bipartisan support
LAHORE, March 29,2005: Journalists covering the Punjab Assembly proceedings staged a token walkout from the press gallery on Tuesday to demand the implementation of 7th Wage Board Award and won a bi-partisan support. The opposition leader as well as the Punjab food minister supported the journalists during a demonstration outside the Assembly Hall.
Soon after the recitation of Holy Quaran, the journalists walked out. Qasim Zia, opposition leader, and Rana Sanaullah Khan, deputy opposition leader, accompanied them. Punjab Union of Journalist (PUJ) organized the protest outside the assembly building where Lahore Press Club (LPC) officials were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, Qasim Zia condemned the government and said that delaying the implementation was depriving journalists of their rights.
He said that while the government claimed that it was strengthening democratic institutions, it was not helping the press, which is considered the “fourth pillar of the state”.
Rana Sanaullah and Rana Aftab Ahmed, an MPA, also condemned the government for ignoring the rights of journalists and said that the opposition would support with latter.
Malik Ahad, a ruling party MPA, also supported the journalists and asked the government take immediate steps to implement the 7th Wage Board Award.
Later, Ch Muhammad Iqbal, Punjab food minister, persuaded the journalists to return to the assembly and cover parliamentary proceedings.
He asked the journalists to draw attention to the issue in the house and the provincial government would cooperate with them. The journalists criticised the government’s indifference when the minister said that the award was an issue between the journalists and the newspaper owners. However, they returned to assembly.
PUJ president Raja Jalil Hassan Akhtar has said that journalists would wear black armbands on May 1 (International Labour Day) in protest and hold a one-hour pen-down strike on May 8.
Source: Daily Times