Journalists protest Altaf’s remarks
ISLAMABAD: Journalist fraternity stormed out of the Press Gallery of the Senate on Thursday evening against the alleged threatening remarks passed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) self-exiled leader Altaf Hussain in his speech from London the other day to a rally in Karachi to welcome Dr Tahirul Qadri.
After assurance from Senators Mushahid Hussain Syed, Farhatullah Babar and Muhammad Zahid Khan, who visited the Press Lounge that they would convey their concern to MQM senators in the House and they would clarify the position, media persons returned to the gallery.
On behalf of journalists, Waqar Satti and Mateen Haider explained what forced them to stage the walk-out. They contended that if the MQM leader had any complaint or concern regarding an individual (media person) or a media house, he should not have had used highly objectionable language against the entire journalist community and they added he even hurled a threat at the media.
“We have seen dictators like Musharraf. We are not afraid of any one. We shall continue to serve the nation. No threat can intimidate us or stop us from unmasking falsehood and corruption,” they retorted.
They said Altaf’s statement was like a slap in the face of journalist community and described it as immoral and undemocratic attitude. They told the senators they would end the proceedings boycott only if MQM tenders apology on the issue.
On this, Senator Mushahid said that the media was more daring and courageous than politicians and was a strong pillar of democracy. He urged the media persons to return to the gallery, as they would talk to MQM senators in this connection.
On MQM behalf, its parliamentary leader in the Senate Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi tendered an unconditional apology and said he was extremely sorry if anything said in a fit of oratory that day created misunderstanding among the journalists, as his party and he himself had highest regard for the media, which always highlighted genuine national issues and problems and talked of the poor.
The Senate Chairman, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, appreciated the magnanimity shown by the two sides.