Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) expresses solidarity with Dawn
KARACHI- The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors declared its total solidarity with the member publication Dawn and maintained that the raid by the joint Army-KESC team for the purported purpose of checking of electricity consumption was a covert method of pressure which ran counter to the assurances on Press freedom given by the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.
Meeting under the chairmanship of Arif Nizami, CPNE President, the Standing Committee adopted a resolution calling upon all concerned in the administration to observe the assurances on Press freedom given by Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf and refrain from such acts as the recent joint investigation team raid on the Dawn offices to check on electricity consumption. The meeting in the resolution said that the joint team raid on the Dawn premises, though officially described as a normal visit and also carried out at other newspaper offices in Karachi and elsewhere, has to be viewed in the background of the recent events on the subject of reporting that developed between the Dawn newspaper and the Ministry of Information. In the background of these events, the raid by the joint Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) inspection team gave a totally different message and ran counter to the assurances of Press freedom given by Chief Editors General Pervez Musharraf. The meeting in its resolution maintained that Pressmen and newspapers were not above the law of the Iand and have always campaigned for the rule of law ad democratic practice. However, the sanctity enjoyed by the newspaper establishment in the country within the framework of guarantees on Press freedom as laid down in the Constitution and the reiteration of commitment to Press freedom by the Chief Executive needs to be shown proper recognition by the federal and provincial authorities at the ground level. The meeting urged General Pervez Musharraf and the government to ensure that a repeat of such actions does not occur so that the desired workable relationship between the government and the Press is promised.
The meeting heard in detail from the Editor of Dawn Mr Salim Asmi the sequence of recent events including exchange of correspondence between the newspaper and the Federal-Ministry of Information and in that backdrop the raid by the KESC joint Monitoring Team members attending the meeting voiced their very strong views of maintaining Press freedom in the country and considered the KESC action as ‘coercion’ and urged the Chief Executive of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf to direct the authorities at different levels in the country to observe the assurances given by him to uphold Press freedom and do away from the different norms of coercion exercised by the past regimes against the Press.
The meeting declared in its resolution that freedom of the Press was crucial to the development of’ the nation along healthy lines and its return to democracy by the year 2002. In fact, the role of the newspapers is pivotal in the different processes for change and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Therefore, measures such as the raid on the Dawn newspaper office by the KESC-Ied monitoring team gives a wrong message and has therefore, evoked the strongest protest from the newspapers and the CPNE. The meeting also directed the Subcommittee constituted for looking into various complaints of violation of Press freedom at local level in Sindh urban and rural areas to start its work without delay.
The meeting was attended by the following: Mr Anwar Farooqui, Senior Vice-President CPNE, Mr llyas Shakir, Secretary-General CPNE, Pir Sufaid Shah, Treasurer CPNE, Mr M.A. Zuberi, Editor Business Recorder, Syed Fasih lqbal, Editor Balochistan Times Mr Mahmudul Aziz, Editor Principal News Review, Qazi Asad Abid, Editor Ibrat, Mr Mujibur Rehman Shami, Editor Pakistan, Mr Mustafa Sadiq, Editor Wifaq, Mr Zia Shabid Editor Khabrain, Qazi Muhammad Aslam Editor Kawish, Mr Mumtaz Tahir, Editor Aftab, Mr Zahid Malik Editor Pakistan Observer Wiqar Yousuf Azimi, Editor Roohani Digest, Mr. Osama Razvi of Jasarat, Mr Mukhtar Aaquil Editor Jiddat, Mr Sajiad Mir Resident Editor Nawa-i-Waqt, Mr Najamuddin Shaikh Editor Dayanat while Mr Salim Asmi, Editor attended by special invitation. The meeting Presided over by Mr Arif Nizami, President CPNE, closed with a vote of thanks to the chair. Earlier the meeting opened with recitation of the Holy Quran by Pir Sufaid Shah. The meeting had a single item agenda, which was to discuss the letter received from Dawn on the subject of the KESC raid.
Source: The Nation