Punjab Assembly eulogises journalists
By Amjad Mahmood
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly adopted unanimously on Tuesday a resolution acknowledging journalists’ role in the movements for restoration of democracy and supremacy of judiciary.
However, it did not condemn an anti-media document the house had adopted on Friday (July 9).
It neither promised withdrawal of the previous nor scrapped the offensive remarks uttered by some MPAs in their speeches against the media during a week-long standoff.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N has also apparently backed out of its declared intent to dismiss MPA Sanaullah Mastikhel, saying the party chief would reconsider the issue after going through the complete record of the formal and informal meetings of an 18-member all-party MPAs’ panel that had drafted the resolution against media.
Media representatives rejected the new resolution as an eye-wash and a mere formality as no demand of journalists had been accepted.
They decided to continue their protest till acceptance of their demand of condemnation and scrapping of the document as well as speeches of MPAs maligning their community.
The fresh resolution failed to please journalists because of a universal praise of all who had struggled for restoration of the democratic process. The Friday resolution had, on the other hand, singled out media for condemnation.
Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said the resolution was aimed at “clearing the impression that the government or the PML-N is in favour of imposing any restrictions on or damaging the media”.
The resolution stressed the need for an access to information law and called for a joint committee of parliamentarians and media representatives for giving suggestions to address genuine complaints of public representatives and political parties.
Mr Sanaullah said he had vetted the old document to see the government was not asked to act in anyway against the media.
Admitting that the earlier resolution had raised fears that the government was working on a plan to gag the media, he disclosed the movers had suggested using advertisements as a bargaining chip.
In reply to a question, the minister said the earlier act of the house would be considered as void after the new resolution in the same way as fresh court verdicts superseded previous ones.
About Nawaz Sharif’s decision to expel Mr Mastikhel from the party, he said the PML-N chief’s opinion was based on media reports.
In reply to a question, Rana Sanaullah said offensive remarks against the media could be expunged after media representatives came on board.
Earlier, PML-Q general secretary Chaudhry Zaheeruddin dismissed the fresh resolution, saying the PML-N had neither tendered an apology to the media nor ensured presence of at least as many MPAs in the house as were present during adoption of the previous resolution.