Journalists boycott assembly session
LAHORE- Journalists boycotted the Punjab Assembly session on May 28, 2003 to protest the police action against them. They raised slogans against police outside the assembly chambers, and announced that they would end the boycott only after an apology by Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi and action against SSP (operations) Aftab Cheema and others.
Protesting opposition Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs) also showed solidarity with them and raised slogans against the government.
Later, provincial ministers Chaudhry Iqbal and Raja Basharat regretted the incident and promised action against the police officers responsible for it. They said the government held journalists in high esteem and was not involved in the incident.
Raja Basharat said he was not aware of the happenings outside the assembly and the matter would definitely be probed. He asked the journalists to end boycott and convey their point of view to the chief minister on his return from Islamabad.
DPO Khwaja Khalid Farooq who was sitting beside the ministers in the cafeteria and had offered unconditional apology left as the journalists objected to his presence.
Many Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam Group (PML-Q) MPAs, including Dr Anjum Amjad, too regretted the incident and announced that they would move a resolution in the assembly on May 29, 2003 to condemn it.
At a joint meeting the Lahore Press Club, PUJ (Barna and Dastoori) and the Press Gallery Committee announced a protest demonstration in front of the assembly on May 29, 2003.
The participants demanded action against Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Khwaja Khalid Farooq, Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Aftab Cheema and others. They said according to Raja Basharat, the chief minister had been told about the incident, and while taking a notice of it he had decided to meet representatives of journalist bodies on May 29, 2003.