APNS criticizes Rashid’s statement
KARACHI – The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has strongly criticised the statement of federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed issued at the end of the inter-provincial information ministers’ meeting held in Islamabad on May 21.
The body has refuted a subsequent statement released by the spokesman of the Information Ministry on May 24 in which he expressed ignorance of the fact that the ministry had in anyway agreed with the APNS stand which advocated drastic reversal of the decisions of the Wage Board.
The APNS statement reads as follows: “The spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Information is clearly telling lies in an attempt to cover up his ministry’s conflicting stand on the Wage Board issue. The fact of the matter is that both the ministries of information and labour represented by two federal secretaries and under the guidance of the federal labour minister had agreed in two separate meetings with the senior office-bearers of the APNS, that the Wage Board had become largely obsolete and needed to be dispensed with in its current form.
The decisions of two meetings held on August 21, 2001 and December 28, 2001, clearly contain the relevant clauses that establish the full agreement to the government measures that sought to radically alter the decisions and mechanism of all the wage boards.
This is contained in virtually all the clauses of the six-point non-paper and the modifying four paragraph “sign posts” available as public documents since 2002 and included in the documents filed by the APNS Attorney Abdul Hafiz Pirzada in the Supreme Court challenging the Wage Board. Our contention can, thus, be easily verified from the public record.
The real reason for the cover-up and the lies, however, is that the original stand of the government has changed. Due to bitter opposition with which the APNS-CPNE confronted President Musharraf’s government at the inception of the black press laws, we have still not been forgiven.
Newspapers and documentation in the ministries will clearly inform history and the conscious citizen as to who spoke up and who remained silent. Our legal and just battle to reverse all wage boards for non-journalists and curtail draconian government interference in the working of a free press will continue in the courts and in the ministry board rooms in Islamabad, whenever necessary”.
Source: Business Recorder