APNS seeks Sindh adviser’s apology for remarks against Dawn chief
KARACHI, May 25 2006: The Executive Committee meeting of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) was held in Karachi under the chairmanship of its President Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The Committee approved preparations made by the Secretariat for the APNS Award Ceremony to be held on May 26, 2006 at Serena Hotel Islamabad, and advised its member publications to attend the ceremony positively.
Considering the formal complaint of Daily Dawn against reprehensible behaviour, words and actions of Sindh CM’s Adviser on Information and Archives Salahuddin Haider, it has noted with concern the unceasing campaign by the adviser. His behaviour exceeds all accepted norms of decency as to what is allowable to an agent of a government that purports to believe in the freedom of press as enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it said.
The Committee, in a resolution, strongly condemned the personal vilification campaign by a so-called responsible senior government officer against the press and more particularly the Dawn Group and its chief executive. The purpose of this campaign is to undermine the independence of the Press in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Since the Dawn Group is reputed to be independent, it is being targeted, it noted.
The APNS Committee has requested the federal government in particular the President and the Prime Minister to direct the Sindh information adviser to publicly apologise for his remarks with respect to the Dawn chief executive which were unprovoked and reprehensible. The fact that he has failed to do so publicly at this point and has continued to make noisy threats behind the scenes is further proof of the fact that he needs to be reined in immediately.
The adviser must be ordered by the Sindh chief minister to ensure that his behaviour conforms to the constitutional provisions which he has sworn to uphold in his oath of office and his personal behaviour must correspond to what is reasonable and decent and what is acceptable by the press and public at large.
The Sindh chief minister should categorically advise him that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable. If he purports that he is merely following party’ policy then the MQM high-ups should be approached and asked to confirm whether the adviser’s behaviour is inconsonant to their policy directives. If it is not, then the adviser must be reprimanded by the party and the chief minister.
The failure to do so would leave us with the distinct impression that it is the Muttahida Qaumi Movement which condones this kind of behaviour. We have no reason to believe that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has sanctioned this behaviour as no responsible official of the party has informed us that his actions have the sanction from the party high command. In fact, Salahuddin Haider has frequently stated in the past, whenever it suited him, that his actions and decisions have evolved from the office of the Chief Minister of Sindh.
Pending further actions by the authorities in Karachi and Islamabad, the APNS has decided that the adviser to the Sindh government on information will not be invited to any APNS event either in his professional or personal capacity until this matter has been satisfactorily resolved either by the issue of a public apology by the official concerned or by his removal from his official post.
The APNS has also decided that no delegation of APNS will meet the adviser in his professional or personal capacity and will instead directly meet the chief executive of the province when such problems evolve. The Sindh adviser may be present on such occasions if the chief minister so desires. The APNS has also noted with grave concern the statement by Dawn that its journalists have been threatened by the adviser and demands that this charge be investigated without any further delay.
The Executive Committee approved full membership to Daily Naya Akhbar, Lahore; Monthly Tahzeeb, Karachi; Monthly Global Science, Karachi; Daily Khabrain, Karachi; and Weekly Sindhu, Hyderabad, and granted associate membership to Daily Intekhab, Quetta; Daily Intekhab, Karachi; and Monthly Hazar Dastan, Hyderabad. The Executive Committee also approved confirmation of accreditation of the Blitz Advertising (Pvt) Ltd, Karachi.
The meeting was attended by the following: Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, president, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, SVP, Inquilab Matri, vice-president, Kazi Asad Abid, secretary general; Masood Hamid, joint secretary; Mumtaz A. Tahir (Daily Aftab), Mehtab Khan (Daily Ausaf), Waseem Ahmed (Daily Awam, Quetta), Siddiq Baluch (Daily Balochistan Express), Syed Faseih Iqbal (D/Balochistan Times), Ms Fauzia Shaheen (M/Dastak), Najamuddin Sheikh (D/Deyanat), Ms Qudsia K. Khan (D/Financial Post), Sharif Farooq (Daily Jihad), Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah (D/Kainat, Khi), Javed Mehr Shamsi (D/Kaleem), Muhammad Aslam Kazi (D/Kawish), Imtenan Shahid (D/Khabrain), Aamir Mahmood (M/Kiran), Adeeb Javedani (M/Moon Digest), Syed Mansoor Bokhari (D/Musawat), Rizwan Ashref (D/Nawa-i-Waqt/The Nation), Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi (M/Naey Ufaq), Ilyas Shakir (D/Qaumi Akhbar), Waqar Yousuf Azeemi (M/Roohani Digest), Khushnood Ali Khan (D/Sahafat) and Riaz Ahmed Mansuri (M/The Cricketer).
Syed Sarmad Ali of Daily Jang attended the meeting as special observer.