Anti-media resolution: Ahsan ascribes resolution to ‘flawed supervision’
By Amjad Mahmood
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz says poor monitoring of legislative work in the Punjab Assembly resulted in the anti-media document.
“Introspection reveals that the party’s monitoring of legislative proceedings was weak and ineffective that allowed tabling of a resolution against the media,” PML-N spokesperson Ahsan Iqbal told Dawn on Thursday.
Admitting the flaw in supervision of the PA proceedings, he indirectly pointed out a lack of coordination between those responsible for looking after legislative business and the party’s media cell being led by Senator Pervaiz Rasheed.
“Had the people responsible for overseeing the house business consulted those assigned the task of coordinating with the journalists, the chances of the resolution being misinterpreted could have been quelled,” said Mr Iqbal.
There were reports that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself had vetted the document that earned ire of the media as well as political, legal and civil circles.
But law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan took the responsibility, saying the chief minister had never been referred this or any other resolution.
He said the document moved in the house by PML-N MPA Sanaullah Mastikhel had been drafted by an 18-member All-Party House Committee and that he (the minister) had purged it of some demands made by the movers to the government like withholding release of official advertisements to the media organisations accused of defaming the elected representatives.
Mr Iqbal dispelled the impression that any pro-Mastikhel bloc had been formed in the party and that members of the group had threatened to resign in case of any action against the MPA from Bhakkar.
Saying the PA document was in bad taste, he stressed that it did not conform to the policy of the party which had championed the cause of an independent judiciary. And the media knew well that when army dictators and civil (federal) governments failed to gag it, how a provincial government could even think of trying to make it fall in line, he said.
Seeing no gain for the party in the ugly episode that once pitted the elected representatives against the journalists, he said the PML-N was a loser in the incident as all other parties that had supported the resolution in the house conveniently claimed innocence outside the assembly.
Mr Iqbal said his party should at least be appreciated for showing grace and moral courage to accept the responsibility and rectify the situation through a pro-media resolution besides initiating a disciplinary against Mastikhel.
The other parties looked the other way instead of taking to task their respective MPAs who had drafted and signed the original document, he said.