KPC no more a safe haven for journalists, politicians
By Razzak Abro
KARACHI: The Karachi Press Club (KPC), which was once considered by politicians and journalists a safe haven, even during the worst law and order situations, has seemingly lost its status of being ‘sanctuary’.
The looming terrorism threat was evident from the worried posture of politicians and large number of journalists at the KPC on Monday.
Leaders of three ‘moderate’ political parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) made it to the KPC to hold a joint press conference on the series of terrorist incidents on their offices and election gatherings. These parties will contest against each other on various seats of the National and Provincial Assembly in Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of the province on May 11. But they spoke in unison and supported each other in sharing their common concern with the media during a press briefing.
Journalists were informed in advance that the press conference will start by 2pm, and most of the journalists from print and electronic media had assembled by the specified time.
But, in contravention to the political commitment, the press conference began at around 4pm. The two-hour delay was reportedly due to security concerns. During the leisurely period, media persons kept on observing security arrangements inside and around the KPC. Police, KPC staff and activists of political parties were busy checking security arrangements.
Journalists also saw armed private guards stationed outside the KPC along with police personnel. A large number police personnel were deployed both in uniform and plain clothes around the KPC.
Personnel of bomb disposal squad (BDS) have been on standby inside the KPC in the past as well. However, it was the first time that journalists, who frequent the KPC, saw detection dogs or sniffer dogs along a team of BDS sweeping the venue.
Some journalists expressed wonder after such level of security inside KPC. But many other journalists thought it was necessary because of the extra ordinary law and order situation. The KPC President, Imtiaz Khan Faran also justified it and said it was beneficial for the security of journalists.
After security clearance the leaders of the three political parties started arriving at the club. PPP leaders were among the ones who arrived first, followed by MQM representatives. Those included Taj Haider, Waqar Mahdi and Najmi Alam. Later Hyder Abbas Rizvi, Raza Haroon, Dr Saghir Ahmed, Wasey Jalil and others arrived at the venue as well. The ANP leaders were the last to arrive. Bashir Jan, Altaf Advocate, Niaz Mohammad and others represented ANP at the press briefing.
ANP’s Bashir Jan was cynosure of many participants. He had survived a bomb attack only two days ago in Karachi, and wore a bullet-proof jacket to the event.
Source: Daily times