Ethnic parties denounces journalists as chauvinists
Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC), an ethnic political group in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, has denounced twelve Pakistani journalists as being ‘chauvinists,’ and criticized their role in the violence during protest rallies held in Karachi on May 12, 2007, during the visit of the suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary to the city.
MRC is considered closely associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the party allied to President Pervez Musharraf and the main coalition partner in Sindh provincial government.
In a press statement, the vice-president and secretary general of MRC said the organization had established a cell to inform the new generation about their ‘enemies’. The statement condemned some TV programs and accused them of Â‘playing a dangerous game to destroy Pakistan by igniting linguistic prejudices.’
The names of the journalists in the list include Zafar Abbas of daily Dawn, Azhar Abbas of Dawn TV, and Mazhar Abbas of AFP, Ayaz Amir, columnist of daily Dawn, Sajjad Mir of TV One, Irfan Siddiqui of daily Nawa-e-Waqt, Dr Shahid Masood of Geo TV, Aneeq Ahmed of ARY TV, Asfar Imam of Aaj TV, Zahid Hussain of Geo TV, Shaheen Sehbai of ARY TV, Zarar Khan of AP. Also included in the list was Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
A press release issued by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) expressed concern at the MRC statement, which it described as a serious threat to free media and an attempt to gag the Press. The KUJ said MRC and MQM will be held responsible if any harm came to the journalists whose name has been mentioned in the MRC statement. KUJ demanded the government to take serious notice of what it termed as an attack on the media.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) expressed great concern at the “issuance of such a hit list”, which was a direct threat to media independence.