Police action against journalists condemned
ISLAMABAD, April 17, 2005: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Information Secretary Taj Haider has criticized, what he termed, brutal action of the Punjab police against mediapersons travelling with Asif Ali Zardari from Dubai to cover his arrival in Lahore.
The PPP leader, in a statement issued here on April 16, said physical assaults, snatching of cameras and mobile phones, destruction of films, body searches and emptying of pockets of journalists who included senior editors were shameful acts which not only violated the Constitution and the law but also revolted against norms of decency and gentlemanly conduct.
“Our image as a nation, which already was very low due to long dictatorship, had taken a further plunge downwards as a result of these brutal acts,” he added.
Mr Haider said the excuse of the ‘offenders’ that all this was being done on “instructions from above” was not good enough. He said the days of those “above” were fast coming to an end. Their crimes against the country shall not go unpunished, he added. But, the information secretary said, every person belonging to any law-enforcement agency should regard himself as a custodian of law and must not carry out any illegal orders of those temporarily and “unconstitutionally above”.
They should not forget that they are serving the state as public servants and not servants of some individuals who have usurped authority in violation of the Constitution, he added.
Mr Haider said the PPP saluted the media corps for carrying out their duties with courage, devotion and high levels of integrity against the heaviest of odds.
“While the hollow claims of the regime about a democratic setup and free press stood fully exposed, the media has provided a brilliant example today for Pakistanis in every walk of life to establish the highest standards of performance of duties towards their nation and their profession.”
He said it was the general consciousness created by brave examples like the one setup by the national media today, which was our guarantee to march onwards as one nation towards a free, democratic and progressive Pakistan.