Treasury, opposition join hands to ride roughshod over journalists' interests -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Treasury, opposition join hands to ride roughshod over journalists’ interests

By our correspondent

KARACHI: There was complete unity among the treasury and opposition benches over the issue of journalists’ protest and the attitude of both sides proved that they were only interested in the coverage of their performance in the media. Both the treasury benches comprising PML, PML-F, PPP Patriots, and the MQM and the PPPP-MMA combined opposition who claim to be champions of the freedom of press insisted that the journalists end the boycott and tried their utmost to persuade the media men to cover the assembly’s proceeding. The legislators’ representatives who called on the protesting journalists had the audacity to tell the leaders of the journalists’ bodies that the issues to be taken up by the assembly were far more important than the issue of missing journalists. They had the cheek to put forth the condition that first journalists end their boycott and cover the proceedings of the House and only then would the issue of missing journalists be taken by the House.

Journalists boycotted the Sindh Assembly proceeding to lodge a protest and for the demand to recover the missing journalists Saeed Sarbazi and Mehardeen Marri. Saeed Sarbazi has been mysteriously missing since Wednesday morning while Mehardeen Marri was missing since July and despite strong protest by the journalist, the whereabouts of both newsmen continue to be concealed from the journalists by the concerned authorities. Sindh Home Minister Rauf Siddiqui twice met with the journalists just to assure them that police was searching the missing journalists and that he would inform the House as soon as any information was forthcoming.

Some of the opposition members contacted the protesting journalists just to make them agree to end their boycott and cover the assembly proceedings. However, both sides were not interested in taking up the matter on the floor of the House. Though the opposition had remained at daggers drawn with the government on all issues and sometimes tried to make issues out of non-issues, it has remained a practice in the Sindh Assembly that both sides of the aisle show complete unanimity whenever there’s a matter jeopardising their interests. The opposition is always blaming the government for the deteriorating law and order situation and on certain points it held the government responsible for all mess and adopting delaying tactics.

However, in the case of journalists, the opposition has shown least interest. Some of the treasury benches members termed the protest of the journalists as non-issue. Besides, neither the treasury nor the opposition members had raised the issue on the floor of the House. The opposition members were of the view that it was the requisitioned session and the media should not have boycotted the proceedings as some important issues were enlisted on the order of the days.
Source: The News
Date:9/23/2006