Journalists stage rally against police torture: CPNE slams governor’s attack on press, demands judicial inquiry
LAHORE- The journalists staged a protest rally against police torture of media persons at the Faisalabad rally of President Pervez Musharraf. The rally demanded a public apology by Punjab Governor for his derogatory remarks against the press.
The journalists first gathered at the Lahore Press Club, held a protest meeting there and then marched from there to the main gate of the Governor’s House.
They at a meeting also passed a resolution, condemning the strong-arm tactics of the regime against the journalists. They resented that the Governor ordered the Faisalabad police to baton-charge the journalists.
The resolution also demanded a note of regret from President Gen Musharraf. The protesters also demanded resignation of the governor and chanted slogans against him. Addressing the protesters, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President IH Rashid asked President Musharraf to take strict action against the governor.
He said journalists would continue holding protest processions until there was an apology by the governor. He said the PFUJ would call a meeting to evolve a strategy and start a movement. Punjab Union of Journalist (PUJ) Secretary General Muhammad Akram said the government tried to curb freedom of the press.
PUJ (Dastoor group) President Jalil-ur-Rehman said the government had amended the anti-terrorism act to try journalists publishing or dealing with the news of banned sectarian organisations as terrorists.
He said such state terrorism would not be allowed in any case. Saeed Aasi of the PFUJ (Dastoor) said the governor had committed an offence. Lahore Press Club (LPC) Vice-president Ziaullah Niazi announced that the LPC would fully support the PFUJ and PUJ in their movement.
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) the Faisalabad incident an “unwarranted assault on journalists”. 23 journalists were injured, three of them seriously, at the President’s public meeting. Local members of the CPNE, called an emergency meeting in Lahore under the chair of CPNE president Mujibur Rehman Shami, reviewed the situation dispassionately.
They said that the incident had arose after the Governor’s speech in which he had accused newspaper men of “public contempt by publishing fake reports about the attendance at the Musharraf’s rally in Lahore”. According to the CPNE, this amounted to inciting the public to violence against the press.
The CPNE also took strong exception to the Governor’s appeal to the audience “to join him and raise slogans to denounce mis-reporting. The CPNE said it was shocked to learn that the Governor had used threatening language on the occasion.
The CPNE also noted the irony of the situation in which the federal government has tasked the Governor to determine and fix responsibility for the incident. The CPNE unanimously felt that this was an attack on the press by the government, which provoked a boycott by journalists present at the rally.
“Under the circumstances, the CPNE demands that the government refrain from such violent instigations against the press,” the CPNE president said. It also demanded that an enquiry into the incident be held by no less than a sitting High Court judge.
The following attended the emergent meeting. Mujibur Rehman Shami (Daily Pakistan), Zia Shahid (Daily Khabrain), Najam Sethi (Daily Times), Irshad Haqqani (Daily Jang), Sajjad Bokhari (Daily Musawaat), Shaheen Qureshi (Jang Group), Umer Shami (Daily Yalghar), M A Niazi (The Nation), Irshad Ahmed Arif (Nawa-i-Waqt), Adeeb Javedani (Moon Digest).
Source: The News