Journalists taste incoming rulers 'powerÂ' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Journalists taste incoming rulers ‘powerÂ’

LAHORE – The PPPP and the PML-N showed their parliamentary strength in Punjab here Saturday night at a local hotel, but first victim of their power were the journalists who were roughed up and manhandled at the entry point of the venue by security men and some PML-N activists.

President, PML-N Shahbaz Sharif hosted a dinner in honour of MPAs-elect from Punjab belonging to the PMNL-N and the PPP to show their joint strength in Punjab Assembly ahead of convening of the assembly session. At the time when senior leaders of both the parties including Shahbaz Sharif, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Zulfiqar Ali Khosa were reiterating their commitment to provide justice to the people at any cost and promising to start a new era of tolerance and prosperity inside the hall, senior journalists were being manhandled outside the venue for the only fault that they had come there to cover the event after being invited. What a coincidence!

President, Punjab Union of Journalists, Shehzad Butt, senior reporter of Waqt TV, Nazir Bhatti and Ansar Zahid of a local Urdu daily were among the journalists who were roughed up by PML-N activists and the security personnel deployed there.

The event virtually turned out to be a nightmare for the journalists, as they were roughed up and not allowed to enter the meeting point. They expressed their utmost resentment on the occasion, saying they had supported the PML-N when even their own men had left them in lurch.

The journalists at that time also recalled the good old days when Chaudhrys of Gujrat were in power, who at least knew how to give due respect to the mediamen. They did not remember having received such a humiliating treatment even at the functions of President Pervez Musharraf when there was high-security alert all the time.

It was a highly mismanaged event ever witnessed in country’s political history. The entire hotel seemed to be taken over by PML-N workers and leaders who showed no regard for the media persons who had come to cover the parliamentary meeting on their invitation.

The media coordinator to Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Khawaja Amer was also no less rude in his behaviour when he told reporters that a colonel had taken over the security of the event and that he was totally helpless. To utter surprise of the journalists, the security personnel headed by a colonel also manhandled a senior PML-N leader Inam Ullah Niazi who had come out to lead them into the hall.

Later some PML-N leaders including Khawaja Imran Nazir, Rana Mashood and Personal Staff Officer to Shahbaz Sharif, Talha approached the journalists and tried to convince them to get inside, but they refused. PML-N President Mian Shahbaz Sharif also made a call to some journalists and apologised.

It is pertinent to mention here that some journalists also faced similar treatment at the parliamentary party meeting of the PPP held at the residence of MPA-elect Raja Riaz. The PPP activists deployed at the entrance misbehaved with reporters when they tried to enter the residence where party’s Punjab President Shah Mehmood Qureshi was briefing the media about party’s future course of action in Punjab.

Meanwhile, Punjab Union of Journalists and Lahore Press Club have expressed their grave concern over the incident of manhandling of journalists. In a joint statement, it has been stated that PML-N which was yet to come into power seemed to have learnt nothing from the past.
Source: The Nation
Date:3/9/2008