Journalists protest press club seizure
ISLAMABAD – The journalists on November 2, staged a walkout from the press gallery during the Senate session to protest the closure of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club (RIPC) by the district administration and registration of an FIR against a number of journalists.
The journalists alleged that the Punjab government had become a party to the dispute between the two journalist bodies which would not be acceptable to them.
They claimed that the press club had been sealed by the district administration on the direct intervention of Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and Law Minister Raja Basharat.
They said the district administration had closed the doors of the press club to journalists when a losing candidate used his influence. They demanded that the administrative control of the press club should be handed over to the newly-elected executive body.
The journalists ended their protest when Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis and Information Secretary of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Senator Tariq Azeem assured them on the floor of the House that the federal government would ask the provincial authorities not to become a party to the matter.
The PML senator said he had talked to the Punjab chief minister and Mr Basharat on the issue and they had denied any government involvement in this regard. He told the house that Mr Basharat had assured him that police would be withdrawn from the press club and no action would be taken against any journalist. He assured the journalists that the provincial government would not arrest any person in the issue.
He also assured that steps would be taken to reopen the press club for its normal activities soon. He suggested formation of a committee to resolve the matter amicably.