APNS concerned at MQM Rabita Committee, Mohajir Rabita Council's statements -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

APNS concerned at MQM Rabita Committee, Mohajir Rabita Council’s statements

KARACHI (May 25 2007): The All Pakistan Newspapers Society has expressed “grave concern” at the twin statements of the MQM Rabita Committee and the Mohajir Rabita Council, denouncing journalists and analysts in the print and electronic media as being “anti-Mohajir” and as “biased chauvinists.”

The press release of the Mohajir Rabita Council specifically names 13 leading journalists from the print and electronic media in a publicly announced hit-list, and describes them as “Mohajir dushman” (enemies of Mohajirs).

“The statement of the Mohajir Rabita Council has been issued by four high ranking office bearers, including Yaqoob Bandhani (Vice-President), Tassaduq Hussein (Secretary General), Raeesa Mohani (Secretary Finance), and Minhaj-ul-Arifeen (Secretary Information).

Conspicuously absent from the list of signatories to this statement is the name of the President of the Mohajir Rabita Council, Federal Minister for Housing and MQM nominee in the federal cabinet, Safwanullah. In a telephonic conversation with the APNS President, Safwanullah expressed ignorance about the statement a day after its issue. But his promised contradiction has failed to arrive at the APNS office after lapse of 24 hours”, an APNS spokesman disclosed.

The APNS has urged the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to intervene in this matter and dismiss the Federal Minister of Housing Safwanullah for being the “head of an organisation that has publicly threatened members of the Fourth State by name.

This constitutes a clear violation of Article 19 of the constitution, which upholds freedom of expression as a basic tenet of the law. The statement of the Mohajir Rabita Council should be publicly withdrawn and additionally be denounced by the government”.

The second of the statements that appeared simultaneously in a section of the press was issued in the name of two lesser-known members of the MQM Rabita Committee, Mohammed Ashfaque, and Jawed Kazmi. “The Rabita Committee’s statement utilises approximately the same phraseology as the Rabita Council one and hurls similar charges. No list of journalists however has been included in the Rabita Committee’s statement, the APNS spokesperson continued.

“Later the MQM Rabita Committee at Azizabad Karachi, dissociated itself from the Mohajir Rabita Council and its controversial statement in a two line contradiction. The statement however fails to point out that the President of the Rabita Council is also a nominee of the MQM in the Federal cabinet. It also fails to elaborate on the historically close ties between the two bodies Ishtiaq Azhar the former Rabita Council President was subsequently appointed as a leading member of the MQM Rabita Committee in the 1990s” the APNS spokesman concluded.

The APNS believes that both the statements of the Mohajir Rabita Council and that of MQM Rabita Committee against journalists “are likely to provoke hatred against the press in general, and incite party supporters to the possible commission of an offence against those journalists named in the hit-list”.

It also urged the MQM Rabita Committee to formally denounce the inclusion of a hit-list in the Rabita Council’s statement, and to persuade them, to withdraw this inflammatory declaration. Additionally the APNS has demanded that the recent statement of two lesser known members of MQM’s Rabita Committee also be re-examined by the MQM leadership and thence be publicly withdrawn in the interest of better relations between political parties and the press.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:5/26/2007