Civil society, journalists urge marchers not to wait for third umpire
ISLAMABAD: Journalists and civil society organisations on Sunday stated that the marchers should not keep on waiting for the third umpire to intervene and instead initiate relief work for victims of flash floods and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who look towards their fellow countrymen for help in this critical phase of their lives.
Speaking at the “Pro-democracy” camp set up in front of National Press Club (NPC), they said the image of Imran Khan has gone down the drain because lack of patience has led him to the situation where he has been looking for a shortcut to power rather than doing the difficult work of party building and defining detailed solutions to the problems that plague the nation.
They demanded of the government not only to take action against those involved in manhandling of media persons during protest sit-ins but also provide compensation for the equipment damaged during attacks on media persons. First to confront a harsh situation was Geo News as their reporters Azaz Syed, Arshad Waheed, Farhat Jabeen and Saif-ur-Rehman and cameramen Shabbir Ahmed and Khurram Shehzad came across an unfriendly crowed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) while covering the sit-in on 16th August.
At least one dozen journalists and their supporting staffers belonging to different news channels have braved harassment and manhandling at the hands of angry cadres of PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the policemen while covering the protest sit-ins in Red Zone area of the capital city.
The camp has been set up by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in coordination with National Press Club (NPC) and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ). The participants of the camp has also announced a fund raising campaign for IDPs and the people belonging to all segments of the society can extend their helping hand for these people who are facing hardships for future of our nation.
PFUJ president Afzal Butt said it is highly unfortunate that the power-hungry marchers have forgotten that almost one million IDPs are fighting for their survival and their protest sit-ins are not allowing the provincial and federal governments to take necessary measures and focus on the relief work.
“We have IDPs, most of whom are living under the open sky but the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa has no time to provide relief to them. We have people who have been affected by the flashing floods but these marchers even don’t bother to mention them in their long speeches. Now it is our national duty to set aside politics and join hands with the government and private sector organisations to provide them aid and relief,” he said.
Referring to the murder of three media persons in Quetta he said the provincial government has so far failed to arrest those involved in this criminal act so in case of any further delay in this respect PFUJ would launch a countrywide protest campaign and black flags would be hoisted at the press clubs.
RIUJ general secretary Bilal Dar said Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri were claiming that they would lead from the front but the world has seen that when the workers of PTI and PAT were facing baton charge and tear gas one of them was hiding in bullet proof car and other in “five-star” container.
Prominent artist Jamal Shah said all the hopes of the marchers have badly been dashed to the ground and now the political moderators of all hues are trying to figure out how to provide a face-saving exit for them who now find themselves in a blind alley due to their political follies.
“The forces conspiring to derail democracy would be frustrated by the people of Pakistan who have seen their real faces. The governments are not changed through mobs and those who want to come to power should follow democratic norms and adopt constitutional means,” he said.
Others who spoke on the occasion include Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) president Waseem Farooq, Insani Haqooq Party President Khalid Aftab Sulehri and social activist Fayyaz Gillani. They said if the current siege of the capital does not end soon then the political chaos may lead to another dark period of the dictatorship in the country.