Hameed Haroon elected APNS president, Sarmad secretary general -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Hameed Haroon elected APNS president, Sarmad secretary general

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: The Annual General Council meeting of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), held on March 31, 2010, unanimously elected Hameed Haroon as president, Muhammad Aslam Kazi as senior vice-president, Syed Sarmad Ali as secretary-general, Umer Mujib Shami as vice-president, Shimaila Matri Dawood as joint secretary and Syed Muhammad Munir Jilani as finance secretary of the APNS, said a press release issued here on Thursday.

The AGM, held under the chairmanship of Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami, the president for the year 2009-10, unanimously approved the report of the Executive Committee for the preceding year as well as the annual accounts of the APNS.

The General Council meeting, attended by 228 members from across the country, formed an Election Commission, headed by Mahmud-ul-Aziz, Altaf Hassan Qureshi and Kamal Ahmed Farooqui as members. The Election Commission conducted the election to the Executive Committee for the year 2010-11. The following were elected:

Karachi daily seats: Aghaz; Business Recorder; Deyanat; Express; Kainat; and Millat.

Lahore daily seats: Dawn; Jang; Khabrain; Musawat; Nawa-i-Waqt; and Pakistan.

Rawalpindi/Islamabad daily seats: Asas (Rawalpindi); and Ausaf (Islamabad).

Balochistan daily seats: Awam (Quetta); and Balochistan Times (Quettta).

Frontier daily seats: Mashriq (Peshawar); and Wahadat (Peshawar).

Sindh (excluding daily Karachi): Ibrat (Hyderabad); and Kawish (Hyderabad).

Punjab (excluding Lahore/Rwp/Ibd): Aftab (Multan); Business Report (Faisalabad); and Paigham (Faisalabad).

General Seats (metropolitan dailies): Al Akhbar (Islamabad); and Pakistan Observer (Islamabad).

General Seats (regional dailies): Kaleem (Sukkur); and Tijarat (Gujranwala).

Periodicals seats: Cricketer Monthly (Karachi); Kiran Monthly (Karachi); Naya Rukh Monthly (Karachi); and Roohani Digest Monthly (Karachi).

News and news comments periodical (Punjab/Fronier): Azm Weekly (Lahore).

News and news comments periodical (Sindh/Balochistan): Engineering Review Fortnightly (Karachi).

News and news comments periodicals (general): Dastak Monthly (Karachi).

The president elect nominated Qudsia K Khan on the woman publisher seat.

The APNS council considered the government-press relations, the state of newspaper industry as well as the problems faced by the member publications. The General Council, in a special resolution, noted with concern that the federal as well as provincial governments were victimising some publications for their political affiliations, which negated the freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The General Council urged upon the federal and provincial governments to stand by their commitments for the freedom of press and refrain from victimising the newspapers that did not follow the officials dictates. The council was informed by the Daily Times and the Daily Aajkal that the Punjab government had almost stopped the release of the provincial government advertisements to their publications as a reaction to their editorial contents, which was a gross violation of the freedom of press. Likewise, the Daily Surkhab, Peshawar, complained that the provincial government of the NWFP had refused to release advertisements to the publication on account of its political stance against the ANP government. The publication was threatened that no provincial advertisement would be released to it unless it followed the position of the ANP government.

The members based in the NWFP have also reported to the council that the Information Department of the NWFP have adopted a discriminatory approach while releasing the government advertisements, which are being distributed to irregular publications, while the senior and genuine publications are being completely ignored. This has resulted in the acute financial crunch to the newspaper industry in the province. The Daily Azadi, Swat, briefed the members that the federal and provincial governments had not so far honoured their commitments to compensating the publication for the loss incurred due to terrorist attacks and military action, resulting in damages to their office premises.

The General Council, adopting a resolution, urged upon the federal government, the Punjab government and the Frontier government to ensure that while releasing advertisements, political affiliations and editorial contents of the newspapers should not be taken into account, so that the judicious, equitable and transparent distribution of the government advertisements was ensured.

The General Council was addressed by Mujib-ur-Rahman Shami, Hameed Haroon, Syed Faseih Iqbal, Dr Jabbar Khattak, Jamil Ather, Khushnood Ali Khan, Prof SB Hassan, Altaf Hassan Qureshi, Mumtaz A Tahir, Mumtaz Sadiq, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, Qudsia K Khan, Fauzia Shaheen and other members across the country.

Meanwhile, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) President Khushnood Ali Khan and Secretary General Amir Mahmood congratulated Hameed Haroon and Sarmad Ali.

In a joint statement, they expressed the hope that the new office-bearers and the executive committee would play due and prominent role in the independence of the press. They hoped that the office-bearers would make all out efforts for getting released the advertisements blocked or reduced to the newspapers for making efforts for the freedom of press. They said that hopefully, the office-bearers would also work for securing the rights of their electorate, who had given them the mandate to head the APNS.

Meanwhile, Khushnood Ali Khan and Amir Mahmood criticised the ill treatment with and torture on journalists while they were performing their duties at the Jinnah Hospital, Lahore.

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