Protest against attack on press club
SWABI, July 05 2006: The Abaseen Union of Journalists (AUJ) observed a hunger strike on July 04 in protest against an attack by activists of the ruling party on the Peshawar Press Club and the brutal killing of Hayatullah Khan. The patron-in-chief of AUJ, Haji Wali Mohammad; Senior Vice-President Mohammad Farooq, President Jalil Ahmad Khan, President of Topi Union of Journalists Abdul Samad, President of Tordher Union of Journalists Niaz Ali and office-bearers and members of journalist unions participated in the hunger strike. Leaders of different political parties, nazims of union councils, traders and officials of the local administration visited the hunger strike camp and expressed solidarity with journalists.
The protests also set on fire an effigy of PML provincial president Amir Muqam and demanded that he should tender his resignation. They also demanded immediate arrest of those who attacked the club and those who were involved in the killing of Hayatullah Khan who had been kidnapped last year following his investigative reports on the death of an Al-Qaeda operative. They said the government must come clean and unveil facts as to why a journalist was killed and why the press club was attacked when the media men were performing their professional duty.
“It is the utmost desire of each journalist that the officials concerned unveil facts,” said Jalil Ahmad. Mr Wali Mohammad said: “If the government fail to do so then the slogan that the press is independent is an empty one and we will never believe in it.Â” Mohammad Farooq said that the killing of Mr Khan and the attack on the press club were attacks on freedom of the press and the journalist community should join hands to struggle for justice. Several speakers wondered that when journalists were not secure how could it be expected that the government was going to provide security to other people.