July 5- black day in Pak history: PFUJ
ISLAMABAD: “July 5 is one of the darkest days in the history of Pakistan which literally sent the country into a ‘stone age’, and the entire nation was still paying a heavy price for it,” said the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on the eve of 31 years of the imposition of Martial Law by General Zia. In a statement issued here on Sunday, PFUJ Secretary General, Shamsul Islam Naz, said although 33 years have passed since the imposition of Zia’s Martial Law, the whole nation is paying a heavy price in the shape of menace of sectarianism, ethnicity, heroin, terrorism, Kalashnikov culture, corruption, rule of gun, lawlessness, intolerance, un- democratic attitude, nepotism, discrimination with women, minorities, media per- sons ruthlessly running all the state institutions for perpetuating their dictatorial rule by hook or crook.
He further said, “The entire nation suffered during Zia’s Martial Law, legitimized by the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgment under the gait of so-called “law of necessity” which also gave a free hand to the dictator to unilaterally change and amend the constitution as per his dissertation”.
Not only this during his 11 years of cruel rule, Gen, Zia abrogated the Constitution and flaunted the law with complete impunity and not in a single case the superior courts dared to undo any of his orders.
While this period may be remembered for its oppressive measures, including long spell of censorship, banning of newspapers opposing his un- justified rule, arrest of Editors and media persons, awarding them rigorous imprisonment under Martial Law regulations and even whipping them, it was also marked by memorable resistance put up by the media persons and press workers, led by the PFUJ and all Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) with the active support of the trade unions, he added.
Such a struggle was unprecedented in the annuals of the 4th Estate the world over, and it began towards the end of November 1977 in Karachi, only about five months following the advent of Martial Law. The PFUJ’s struggle was triggered by government’s ban on publication of Daily “Musawaat”, Karachi. After futile efforts to convince the Martial Law authorities to lift the ban, the PFUJ launched a hunger strike campaign in Karachi from December 1, 1977 and with in eight days of the struggle in which journalists and press workers from all over the country participated, the Zia regime surrendered and lifted the ban slapped on Daily “Musawaat”, he added.
Owing to its oppressive nature, the government again took coercive methods against the dissenting press and banned Daily “Musawat”, Lahore, and weeklies, “A1-Fatah”, Meyar” and others, which were critical of the dictatorial regime.
After the failure of protracted negotiations with the government, the Federal Executive ,Council of PFUJ decided to launch a countrywide hunger strike movement from Lahore, commencing on April 30, 1978’, the S.G. PFTJJ recalled. The PFUJ leader claimed that the historic movement was spread over two stages: one be-ginning in Lahore from April 30.
Source: The Nation