Senate body moves fast to end row with journalists
ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: A special committee set up by Senate Chairman Mohammedmian Soomro moved quickly on Saturday, making two proposals to settle a row with journalists who boycotted the upper house on Friday to protest against alleged misbehaviour of police with them.
The committee of three senators made interim recommendations that the Press Information Department (PID) set up a desk at the Parliament House reception to facilitate journalists and issue press gallery cards to them on an annual basis rather than for each session, a Senate statement said.
It said the committee, whose move followed a threat by protesting journalists to stage a sit-in outside the Parliament House on Monday when the Senate meets again at 5.30pm, would also make a final report to the Senate chairman.
All journalists covering the Senate walked out of the press gallery on Friday at the start of the first of the 10th session of the upper house after an altercation between several of their colleagues and police that stopped them from entering the Parliament House premises before they could collect their press gallery cards at their usual entry gate.
The statement said a three-hour meeting of the committee at the chairman’s chamber “investigated thoroughly all aspects of the incident” and discussed the matter with concerned officials of the Islamabad administration, police and the PID.
“The committee examined all aspects of the issuance of passes and investigated the various flaws in the current system with a view to ensuring that such regrettable incidents will not occur in future.”
It said the committee was informed by the capital’s senior superintendent of police that he would report to it by Monday the finding of a separate inquiry he had ordered into the matter.
According to the statement, Senators Tariq Azeem Khan and Mushahid Hussain Sayed attended Saturday’s meeting while they remained in regular telephone contact with the third member, Mohammad Ali Durrani.