NAP speaker orders inquiry into harassment of journalists
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain ordered an inquiry into reports of harassment of journalists after reporters walked out of the press gallery in protest on Sunday. “Torture of journalists cannot be allowed. You should take up the issue with the minister concerned, conduct an inquiry into these incidents and bring the persons responsible to book,” the speaker said to Kamil Ali Agha, minister of state for parliamentary affairs. The speaker also directed Mr. Agha to inform the house about the outcome of inquiry. “If the house is not in session by that time, you (minister) will brief me about the outcome. I will personally ensure the independence of the press,” he added. Journalists covering NA proceedings earlier walked out to protest against the firing of shots at the house of Shakil Anjum, reporter for The News, and threatening phone calls made to Mushtaq Ghumman, reporter for the Business Recorder, allegedly by Intelligence Bureau (IB) agents.
Mr. Anjum’s son and nephew were injured in the incident. Another journalist, Ali Safdar, was also manhandled a few days ago, the journalists complained. They ended their walkout after Mr. Agha assured them he would sort out the matter. The journalists demanded a ministerial committee be set up to investigate the incidents. The minister said that the government believed the media should be independent and regretted that these incidents were damaging the
government’s image. Raja Pervez Ashraf, secretary-general of the PPP Parliamentarians, criticized the government for its failure to stop the harassment of journalists. He accused Raja Basharat of involvement in the shooting at Mr. Anjum’s house and the IB of making threatening calls to Mr. Ghumman. Staff reports.