Pro-media resolution moved: Parties go for damage control
LAHORE: The major parties in the Punjab Assembly — PPP, PML-Q and PML-N — went for damage control on Friday evening after their members unanimously passed a resolution against the media earlier in the day.
Opposition leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin and Amna Ulfat submitted a resolution in the evening to the speaker in support of the media which is likely to be taken up in Monday’s session.
Meanwhile, Governor Salmaan Taseer condemned the PA resolution, terming it anti-media and the one attacking the fourth pillar of the state.
In a press statement, he said it was unfortunate that the resolution was passed in the presence of leader of the house Shahbaz Sharif. He said the PPP had always stood for complete independence of the media.
The governor wanted the Punjab government to withdraw the resolution.
Sources said soon after the news of resolution flashed in the media, top PPP leaders snubbed those party members who voted for the resolution on their own without seeking parliamentary leader’s approval.
The PPP says a ‘handful’ of its Punjab legislators who endorsed the resolution should not be taken as party’s line. PPP’s parliamentary leader Raja Riaz was also not present in the house when the resolution was tabled by Sanaullah Mastikhel of the PML-N.
“This is not our issue. We have been facing media trial since we came to power in February 2008. Let the media see the ‘true face’ of the PML-N now,” a senior PPP leader told Dawn.
He said the PPP elders had decided to “fully support” any move initiated in the assembly to undo today’s resolution.
PPP central deputy secretary information Haider Zaman Qureshi said: “The resolution can be a grievance of some individuals but it has been made to look like the issue of the whole house that shows it was a planned move by the PML-N.”
He said the chief minister was present when the resolution was tabled and passed and the denial from its (PML-N) spokesman that it was an “individual’s act” was wrong. “The chief minister actually has endorsed the resolution,” he said.
PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid said that his party had nothing to do with the resolution. “It is a move of PML-N legislator in an individual capacity.”
Chaudhry Parvez Elahi of Pakistan Muslim League-Q said that his party had moved a resolution against the PML-N’s “fascist and anti-media campaign” in the Punjab Assembly.
In a press statement after the proceedings, Elahi strongly condemned the “N-League sponsored” resolution against the media and blamed Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for master-minding the move.
He also accused Shahbaz Sharif of directing his party MPAs to physically assault the journalists outside the Punjab Assembly building.
COMMITTEE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif constituted a five-member committee for resolving the issues concerning media and journalists with regard to the proceedings of the Punjab Assembly on Friday.
The committee will comprise Provincial Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah, Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, MPA Dr Tahir Ali Javed and Secretary Information.
The chief minister directed the committee members to immediately contact the media representatives.