Anti-media resolution: Lawyers, journalists, civil society protest against Punjab PA
By Noor Aftab & Obaid Abrar Khan
ISLAMABAD: Condemning passage of infamous resolution by the Punjab Assembly against media scores of lawyers, journalists and civil society organizations staged a protest demonstration on Monday and vowed to continue their struggle for independent media in the country.
Carrying banners and placards the protesters lamented the mindset of the provincial assembly members who supported the resolution and termed it an act to blame media for their own wrongdoings.
President of Islamabad Bar Association Syed Wajid Gilani said media and lawyers’ community put a brave resistance against military government of Pervez Musharraf and they would continue their struggle against those who want to follow in footsteps of the military dictator.
President of Rawalpindi Bar Association Malik Waheed Anjum said resolution against media is an effort to promote personal interests and those who hold fake degrees should face the criticism for their wrongdoing.
President of Rawalpindi High Court Bar Association Sardar Zulfiqar Naqvi said media has been promoting the cause of democracy and it is quite astonishing when some one blames it for derailing democratic set up in the country.
Minister of State for Industries Dr Ayatullah Durrani said the PPP government pays high respect to media and the passage of resolution is a highly regrettable step and it must be condemned.
PFUJ President Pervez Shaukat said they would not compromise the independence of media.
President National Press Club Afzal Butt said it is a specific mindset that does not want to see independent media and judiciary but “we are here to defend our independence as we have achieved it after rendering valuable sacrifices.”
RIUJ President Ashfaq Sajid said the members who hold fake degrees should feel ashamed of their act but unfortunately they are out to blame media for their own mistakes.
Dr Israr Shah of PPP said people have rendered great sacrifices for independent media and judiciary. Minority leader Julius Salik and Anisa Zeb of PPP (Sherpao) also spoke on the occasion and strongly condemned the passage of resolution in the Punjab Assembly.
Islamabad Bar Association’s lawyers on Monday staged protest and also boycotted the court proceedings against the Punjab Assembly’s resolution against media.
The bar also passed a resolution in its general body meeting demanding of the Punjab Assembly to annul the resolution. The lawyers announced their full support to media.
After observing complete boycott of the court proceedings, a large number of lawyers of the bar joined media persons and civil society members in a protest camp set up outside Islamabad Press Club to show solidarity with media.
General Secretary Islamabad Bar Association Naveed Malik regretted the passage of the resolution. He said that the media has full support of legal fraternity of the country.
Ameen Abbasi adds from Bahawalpur: Lawyers in Bahawal Nagar and Rahim Yar Khan districts observed black day on Monday to express their solidarity with media persons and to condemn the resolution passed by the Punjab assembly. In Bahwal Nagar lawyers wore black armbands and boycotted the courts. In Rahim yar Khan district bar also observed the black day but there was no courts’ boycott.
Bahwalpur journalists community held a protest meeting to condemn the Punjab assembly resolution. They wore black ribbons around their arms.
PPI adds: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has constituted a ten-member committee headed by its president Pervaiz Shaukat for determining modalities to resolve the issue cropped up due to the anti-media resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly.
Other members of the committee are Nasir Naqvi, Chairman APNEC; Shamsul Islam Naz, Secretary General PFUJ; Makhdum Bilal Amir Finance Secretary PFUJ; Surmad Bashir President Lahore Press Club; Zia ullah Niazi Secretary Lahore Press Club; Rai Husnain Tahir President PUJ; Rana Azeem Secretary General PUJ; Zaheer Shahzad President Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Committee and Shumaila Jaffary Secretary Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Committee.
The Committee has been given mandate to review all the circumstances leading to passage of the controversial anti-democracy and anti-media resolution by the Punjab Assembly. The Committee would also held parleys with the working committee constituted by the Punjab Government on the issue.
Lawyers of District Bar Sahiwal observed complete strike to mark solidarity with media and boycotted the courts.
Member, Punjab Bar Council Iftekhar Khawar said that the lawyers would cooperate with the journalists to foil every conspiracy of imposing restrictions on the freedom of press.
Source: The News