NWFP PA staff encircle journalists covering proceedings -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NWFP PA staff encircle journalists covering proceedings

PESHAWAR: Allegedly, on the directives of the speaker NWFP Assembly, the entire security and other staff members of the Assembly Secretariat encircled the journalists covering the proceedings of the assembly on Wednesday.

Sticks and iron bars carrying infuriated secretariat staff members damaged all the motorcycles of the journalists’ parked in front of the press gallery. The security staff and other police officials remained as silent spectators.

The staff members also beat a journalist in the Speaker’s Chamber in the presence of Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Malik Zafar Azam where he was taken for negotiation along with other four members.

The Assembly Secretariat staff was so encouraged to attack the journalists despite the repeated reminder of the law minister that they were trying to negotiate between the two parties. At one time, the minister had to physically intervene into pushing the attacking staff members on the journalists.

The minor issue between the secretariat staff and journalists took an ugly situation when the journalists, who had earlier exchanged hot words with staff over delay in bringing agenda, were invited to the Speaker’s chamber.

The journalists in a joint meeting decided to boycott the assembly proceedings to protest against the Speaker NWFP Assembly and secretary to speaker, who supported the hooliganism of the assembly staff in their raid on journalists and damaging their motorcycles. The meeting largely attended by the journalists’ organisations condemned the hooliganism of assembly staff members and trampling the sanctity of Speaker’s chamber.

The participants observed that instead of solving the problems, the speaker and his secretary supported their staff members in attacking negotiation team of journalists even in Speaker’s chamber, which was against the status of the Speaker of the assembly.

The meeting said that the Speaker must apologise for his remarks against the journalists. The meeting asked the Speaker to expel those staff members, who attacked the journalists in his chamber in the presence of Minister for Law Malik Zafar Azam. The meeting asked the government to repair the motorcycles by deducting money from the salaries of those responsible staff. A six-member committee was formed to draw future line of action.

The opposition members in NWFP Assembly condemned the hooliganism of staff members with the journalists, asking the government to take action against the responsible employees.

ANP parliamentary leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour condemned the attack on journalists in Speaker’s chamber and asked the government to take action against responsible. Extending solidarity with the journalists at the Press Club, he said the opposition would support journalists at every forum.

ANP MPAs Amir Rehman Khan and Mukhtiar Ali Khan also visited the Press Club and condemned the incident.The Akhbar Farosh Ittehad group leaders, including Mohammad Ayub Khan, Haji Yousaf Shah, Zar Qadar Khan, Sarfaraz Khan, Daud Khan, Hayat Khan and Hamid Khan visited the press club and extended support to the protesting journalists.

PML-N parliamentary leader Anwar Kamal Khan said the joint opposition had again requisitioned the assembly session on Wednesday when the Speaker prorogued it. He said 40 members had signed the requisitioned paper and now it was binding on the government to convene it within next 14 days. He said the MMA leaders, on one hand was making tall claims but they were following dual policies. He said the MMA leaders were in haste from the very morning and their confusion could be judged from the fact that they presented very brief recitation of Holy Quran and that too without its translation.

He said the Speaker was in hurry and put a matter before the house when the opposition members had not yet entered into the house. It, he said, was astonishing to note that the Speaker had formed a special committee to discuss an adjournment motion regarding the local bodies but after preparing detailed reports, when its recommendations were moved and adopted by the NWFP assembly, the same government backed out from its commitment.

He said the committee was formed under the chairmanship of deputy speaker and had the government ministers and the deputy speaker moved the report. But today the same people, he said were insisting to send the matter to a select committee ignoring their own promises and commitment.

The PML-N leader said the joint opposition was supporting the MMA government up till now but now the MMA leaders proved contradictions in their words and actions. He said the MMA leaders were not interested in even implementing Shariat Bill and recommendations of their House standing and select committees. He said the same MMA leaders had been supporting Taliban and were opposing America and General Musharraf but in fact they were making bargain over their mere slogans.

The MMA government, he said, could not even pass a resolution against the operation in the name of al-Qaeda in district Bannu when he asked them to do so. He said Chief Minister Akram Durrani had compromised over his own southern district only for the sake of a passport office when he met with Interior Minister Faisal Salah Hayat.

He said the joint opposition had moved their agenda to discuss law and order situation, non-implementation of the recommendations of the standing committees, non-implementation of Shariat Act, inflation, unemployment and community uplift programme.

He said the joint opposition would not cooperate with the MMA government any more on their flowery speeches and false assurances.
Source: The News
Date:9/11/2003